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Ellis Amdur
08-20-2010, 12:56 PM
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here (http://www.hyoho.com/inte1.html).

Q17. Who were the most influential teachers for Iwata Sensei's iai and budo career?
IS.: I would have to say that it was the three teachers I mentioned above. I have met many fine budoka and teachers in my life, including Morihei Ueshiba Sensei who was very powerful, but these three teachers are still the most important to me. I met Ueshiba Sensei at Military Police school, where he was giving lessons. I was there for two months just before the war broke. The training was meant to be for a year but war broke out after two months and it stopped. Ueshiba Sensei was a very special person. No one could reach him, he moved so well and his spirit was so strong. Even when ten people tried to attack him at the same time they were not able to catch him. But when he caught hold of your hand you had to move where he wanted you to move or your arm would break.
Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

Eric Joyce
08-20-2010, 01:23 PM
And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

Hello Ellis,

This last sentence, could you elaborate a bit more on this? A couple of things come to mine like the term sen no sen referring to the sentence "when he caught ahold of your hand".

Ellis Amdur
08-20-2010, 01:35 PM
Eric - the only elaborations I have are:
1. This is congruent with the memories of one of the directors of the Nakano Spy School, who, upon seeing a post-war aikido demo, said to Kuroiwa Yoshio, "that's not what I remember Ueshiba sensei doing. He's just grab people and say, "you kill them like this. or like this. He's just smash them down." (not an exact quote, but close enough).
2 His method at that time was to take control of the person. (Not to say that, according to all my readings of various exponents of aiki that one cannot take control when they grab you - simply put, that his route at that time was more direct).

Ellis Amdur

Eric Joyce
08-20-2010, 01:43 PM
Eric - the only elaborations I have are:
1. This is congruent with the memories of one of the directors of the Nakano Spy School, who, upon seeing a post-war aikido demo, said to Kuroiwa Yoshio, "that's not what I remember Ueshiba sensei doing. He's just grab people and say, "you kill them like this. or like this. He's just smash them down." (not an exact quote, but close enough).
2 His method at that time was to take control of the person. (Not to say that, according to all my readings of various exponents of aiki that one cannot take control when they grab you - simply put, that his route at that time was more direct).

Ellis Amdur

Interesting. It would seem that for that particular group of people in the spy school, and maybe during his prime, Ueshiba took more of a jujutsu approach perhaps.

Ellis Amdur
08-20-2010, 02:09 PM
I don't know (I mean that honestly) if it was a more "jujutsu" approach. I think, from what I've been hearing, reading, experiencing . . .that "jujutsu rough, aiki soft or nice or "go-no-sen" is an artificial and false construct. Remember, Takeda called what he did jujutsu until the late teens or early 20's of the 20th century.
I think from what the authorities, here and elsewhere, have written that aiki is a different way of organizing the body/nervous system to express power. One could be exerting "aiki," therefore, while punching someone in the face hard enough to smash all the bones, and expressing jujutsu was a smooth, elegant redirection of force so that their body floats over you as you redirect their attempt to surmount you in grappling, and be doing neither jujutsu or aiki while stepping out of the way of the incoming force and "redirecting" it with a strategic movement of the hand, resulting in harmony for all involved.
Given that Ueshiba was, at one time, primed to be Takeda Sokaku's successor (per Stanley Pranin, who stated he had evidence of such), if Tokimune called Ueshiba Takeda's best loved student, if he had received what was, at the time, the highest level certification in Daito-ryu, (etc., etc, etc.), it is reasonable to assume that he learned "aiki" from Takeda well before WWII, much less post war. That "aiki" might not have been very pleasant to experience at times, but . . . .

chillzATL
08-20-2010, 03:11 PM
Ellis,

Was it coming across that reference that spurred your post or did you watch some of the videos of Ueshiba today? Despite the collusion, there are a few of him out there that show hints of his real power.

Ellis Amdur
08-20-2010, 03:14 PM
FWIW - the reference. I believe I've done justice to what is on video in HIPS. But none give an inkling to what is described in the reference, just, at best, that he had power in solo exercises, and could perform well in aikido context. That's why such references as the above are of interest to me.
Ellis Amdur

chillzATL
08-20-2010, 03:47 PM
FWIW - the reference. I believe I've done justice to what is on video in HIPS. But none give an inkling to what is described in the reference, just, at best, that he had power in solo exercises, and could perform well in aikido context. That's why such references as the above are of interest to me.
Ellis Amdur

I think that what's shown in a lot of those demos and what he did elsewhere were quite different. My instructor has quite a few stories that are much closer to the quote you provided than anything those videos seem to represent. Even in his final years he wouldn't stand for people selling it for him, which is hardly the image most of those videos project.

Ecosamurai
08-20-2010, 05:09 PM
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here (http://www.hyoho.com/inte1.html).

Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

I've met and trained with a number of Iwata Sensei's students, one tells an interesting story of things Iwata Sensei has said concerning Kaishaku and beheading people during WW2, rather grisly details but it does bring home the nature of what it is you're doing while practicing that particular kata...

The more I train, the more I become convinced that the sort of power you see in old film of Tohei Sensei is where Ueshiba Sensei was in the 1930s, anecdotes speak of O Sensei becoming very soft (I'm sure this has been extensively covered elsewhere on aikiweb). Having trained with Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei and experienced the direction he is taking his aikido I think I'm starting to appreciate - if only on an intellectual level - the journey from that internal power to that soft ghostlike technique where uke simply cannot feel what is being done to them.

FWIW

Demetrio Cereijo
08-20-2010, 07:05 PM
Also from Iwata sensei:

Ueshiba Morihei, an aiki-jutsu teacher left me the strongest Yoin of his carriage. He coached me directly at the military police school at Nakani in Tokyo in 1942. He explained waza with a couple of big young men, I was surprised at his waza and power. He was a real expert. I was deeply move by his marvellous movement. I met many great judo teachers before that, but I had never seen such a natural movement as his. That was a super human feat, a miracle,I couldn't know how he trained, and I couldn't ask him about his training.

http://www.eikoku-roshukai.com/images/0/00/Yoin.pdf

thisisnotreal
08-22-2010, 11:14 AM
... I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers...
Honestly, I would have thought this to be much more common. I also would have thought that Ueshiba Morihei's power would have been a (thee?) central object of pursuit of (most?) people. Would have thought...the fruitful results of the questions and searching would have been more evident..... "What caused it?", "Can it be learned?", "Where can I learn it?", "How?", "Where is it?", "What do I do?", and so on. Real concrete facts and methods...I also would have thought that there would have been better answers more readily available given the sheer number of people pursuing it...and having left their 'path notes'. Maybe people don't really believe the others that say it can be trained..But there are people that know, aren't there? ..people that can show... Yes?
I believe that even though it is hard, but if a concrete method was known...more people would do it. I think we may very well see this happen. I think some people already are doing this..and people are realizing it.. M 2 C. All the best, Josh

Lee Salzman
08-22-2010, 12:22 PM
Honestly, I would have thought this to be much more common. I also would have thought that Ueshiba Morihei's power would have been a (thee?) central object of pursuit of (most?) people. Would have thought...the fruitful results of the questions and searching would have been more evident..... "What caused it?", "Can it be learned?", "Where can I learn it?", "How?", "Where is it?", "What do I do?", and so on. Real concrete facts and methods...I also would have thought that there would have been better answers more readily available given the sheer number of people pursuing it...and having left their 'path notes'. Maybe people don't really believe the others that say it can be trained..But there are people that know, aren't there? ..people that can show... Yes?
I believe that even though it is hard, but if a concrete method was known...more people would do it. I think we may very well see this happen. I think some people already are doing this..and people are realizing it.. M 2 C. All the best, Josh

But there is the fairly unshakable belief throughout the aikido that I experienced that what we practice now is what Morihei Ueshiba was doing, and that we're just not smart enough, spiritual enough, or gifted enough in the right way yet to reproduce his genius. Everyone was quite sure they were on the right path to be the second coming of O'Sensei, if only they just kept going, somehow, or they were just resigned to the fact that they were not dedicated enough to get there anyway. It doesn't help that we just tend to have only second-hand accounts of O'Sensei's greatness, and must take it on faith that our training will get us there lest it all be for naught.

There was definitely not enough counter-evidence coming in within echo chamber to indicate otherwise, and it became self-reinforcing because I believed that if I tried to deviate from it I would be ruining my own chances. I did not begin to believe otherwise until I left the environment, and saw first-hand that to all appearances two people can be moving the same way and yet getting very different functional results, that shape was only a vehicle for doing real training, and not the real training itself.

RED
08-22-2010, 04:44 PM
With the insane fables of transendental feats aside:

I personally think that the most spectacular thing about O'Sensei is how unspectacular he was.
He was a husband, a son, a father, a teacher, a martial artist, a farmer...a person.
The unspectacular is capable of magnificence when they are honest about the folly of their own legend in my opinion.
It's motivation enough for any unspectacular creation I guess.

Flintstone
08-22-2010, 05:04 PM
How much do you know about the man. Honestly.

RED
08-22-2010, 05:25 PM
How much do you know about the man. Honestly.

Enough to confidently make the statement I just made.
Why? How much of what I said did you understand? :p

phitruong
08-22-2010, 05:56 PM
I personally think that the most spectacular thing about O'Sensei is how unspectacular he was.
He was a husband, a son, a father, a teacher, a martial artist, a farmer...a person.
.

been there (husband, son, ...etc), done that. was so unspectacular and unremarkable that had tough time getting a date in high school. does that make me spectacular? maybe i should start my own martial arts and call it "Phido" and the uniform will be speedo. kinda rhyme don't you think? :)

as far as power and Ueshiba Morihei, seemed he got plenty, but of the million strong aikidoka past and present, not one exceed him in ability, at least i have not heard of one. it's kinda sad don't you think? just think, if every generation of aikidoka where the students are less in skill than the teachers, what will be a few generations from now? it's all math and all down hill.

gen1 = Ueshiba Morihei
gen2 = 0.8 X gen1 (i am very generous of 80%)
gen3 = 0.8 X gen2

which generation are you?

RED
08-22-2010, 06:08 PM
been there (husband, son, ...etc), done that. was so unspectacular and unremarkable that had tough time getting a date in high school. does that make me spectacular? maybe i should start my own martial arts and call it "Phido" and the uniform will be speedo. kinda rhyme don't you think? :)

as far as power and Ueshiba Morihei, seemed he got plenty, but of the million strong aikidoka past and present, not one exceed him in ability, at least i have not heard of one. it's kinda sad don't you think? just think, if every generation of aikidoka where the students are less in skill than the teachers, what will be a few generations from now? it's all math and all down hill.

gen1 = Ueshiba Morihei
gen2 = 0.8 X gen1 (i am very generous of 80%)
gen3 = 0.8 X gen2

which generation are you?

Well I think you're pretty spectacular. :p
I never met O'Sensei first hand, so I can't comment on his ability outside of what I've been told 2nd hand of him.


My direct teacher is a student of one of O'sense's uchi deshi.... 4th gen maybe? :/

lol you've thought a lot about the science of this

Ellis Amdur
08-22-2010, 06:28 PM
I personally think that the most spectacular thing about O'Sensei is how unspectacular he was.
He was a husband, a son, a father, a teacher, a martial artist, a farmer...a person.
The unspectacular is capable of magnificence when they are honest about the folly of their own legend in my opinion.

"Honest about the folly of his own legend"???? You are talking about the one who "stood on the rainbow bridge and united Heaven and Earth." The one who called himself an avatar? That guy?
:) :eek: :freaky: (Sorry, couldn't figure out which emoticom fit.

Ellis AMdur

Marc Abrams
08-22-2010, 06:54 PM
"Honest about the folly of his own legend"???? You are talking about the one who "stood on the rainbow bridge and united Heaven and Earth." The one who called himself an avatar? That guy?
:) :eek: :freaky: (Sorry, couldn't figure out which emoticom fit.

Ellis AMdur

Ellis:

It was the Sixties man :cool: ! O'Sensei must have been hanging out with Timothy Leary when he said those things :D !

There was very little ordinary about O'Sensei. He was an extraordinary man who strove to reach extraordinary places in his life. To that, we should all be thankful.

marc abrams

RED
08-22-2010, 06:57 PM
"Honest about the folly of his own legend"???? You are talking about the one who "stood on the rainbow bridge and united Heaven and Earth." The one who called himself an avatar? That guy?
:) :eek: :freaky: (Sorry, couldn't figure out which emoticom fit.

Ellis AMdur

Yes, and I'm talking about the person who said that the only way to achieve any of those things was by letting your ego die.

That's what I mean by "understanding the folly of your on legend".
I've met a lot of people in martial arts that have heard and bought the story of their own legend. And honestly, I some times feel that is one of the reasons they can't get better. They are already perfectly smitten with themselves and their martial progress. Dissatisfaction breeds achievement. You have to hate where you are to want to go some where else.
Some times you can be too in love with your own legend to see where you are lacking and need improvement.

Gorgeous George
08-22-2010, 07:02 PM
as far as power and Ueshiba Morihei, seemed he got plenty, but of the million strong aikidoka past and present, not one exceed him in ability, at least i have not heard of one. it's kinda sad don't you think? just think, if every generation of aikidoka where the students are less in skill than the teachers, what will be a few generations from now? it's all math and all down hill.

Don't you think that the superiority of o'sensei to all subsequent aikidoka can be attributed to the unique life he led, in a world which no longer exists? I.e., he was a man of means - hence he did not have to work, and so could freely devote his time to budo; he was in the army - in a conflict in which more modern means of killing were not at the fore; he lived in a society in which the martial arts were studied/practiced very seriously by others, and conflicts/challenges took place fairly regularly (granted they do nowadays, but not really among aikidoka - they are deliberately avoided, where possible).

I don't think there is anything at all in the argument that aikidoka will decline in ability as time progresses: ability is a result of natural talent, and hard work, and I am certain that there are people who have far surpassed their teachers in understanding of aikido.

Ellis Amdur
08-22-2010, 07:49 PM
Maggie - Sorry, but for a man who may have said "let your ego die" (I don't recall reading that anywhere, but among the volcano of words that he uttered, why not?), he used the word "I" in writing and pronouncements about himself as much as anyone I've ever read. He was a grandiose egotist - and that's what made him great, not self-effacement.
And Graham, I'd disagree - if it was just natural talent and hard work, there would be many people who were Ueshiba's equal:
1. The Japanese army he was in was a modern army, complete with rifles, machine guns and cannons.
2. Many of his aikido students took challenges. I'm aware of some of the uchideshi inviting challengers upstairs to the fourth floor dojo at the Aikikai back in the seventies.
3. The uchideshi at Honbu dojo had the time to practice all day if they wished. It's not just a matter of practice (I don't want to dredge all the other threads into this one, but the whole issue that has, at times, consumed Aikiweb and has certainly been the subject of the last few years of my research is that it's not just practice hours, it's what you are practicing. And my assertion all along has been that Ueshiba didn't practice (or teach) what most of his followers did. It's not just "natural talent and hard work." Some of the shihan I met were both. Some of those shihan got as good as is humanly possible within the training paradigm they had. Ueshiba (and yes, the top Daito-ryu people) were using a different training paradigm.
Best
Ellis Amdur

Johann Baptista
08-22-2010, 09:01 PM
I must agree with "Gorgeous George."

He was a fervent Omoto Kyo practioner who devoted his whole life to the spirit. We cannot pretend that a large portion of his power did not come from the highly spiritual life he led that was rooted in Shinto, esoteric Buddhist practices, martial arts, and asceticism. He did what many of us cannot do: He faced the spiritual and Belived, and I think that is what made of him the great man that we look up to. I don't think that we must imitate every aspect of his life; we should instead seek to isolate the core values which he lived by and emulate those through our own unique methods. Aikido must be done with total belief in the power of Ki. Nature must be revered and taken care of (as in Shinto.) The mind must be cultivated and the mindbodyspirit must face aloneness, simplicity, fasting, and meditation. You cannot expect to reach enlightenment by just going to a dojo on the weekends. It must be made the priority. But like Morihei Ueshiba, you can fast, pray, and wander your whole life and not reach enlightenment if you do not seek it with a purpose beyond self. Morihei created Aikido to spread Love to a world that was rapidly degenerating into the jaws of materialism, ignorance, and hatred. So too we cannot seek Morihei's power without the intention of using it to continue his struggle. If an Aikdoka truly surrendered to his or her quest, then, they would become like Morihei.

- Johann

thisisnotreal
08-22-2010, 09:24 PM
3. The uchideshi at Honbu dojo had the time to practice all day if they wished. It's not just a matter of practice (I don't want to dredge all the other threads into this one, but the whole issue that has, at times, consumed Aikiweb and has certainly been the subject of the last few years of my research is that it's not just practice hours, it's what you are practicing. And my assertion all along has been that Ueshiba didn't practice (or teach) what most of his followers did. It's not just "natural talent and hard work." Some of the shihan I met were both. Some of those shihan got as good as is humanly possible within the training paradigm they had. Ueshiba (and yes, the top Daito-ryu people) were using a different training paradigm.
Best
Ellis Amdur
Along these lines:

He [O Sensei] detested the idea of demonstrating for the general public. True Budo involved struggle, and invoked the stakes of life and death, so he felt that its inner secrets should be transmitted only to sincere seekers. He believed that to show the secrets freely to outsiders would be immoral, a kind of devaluation or disrespect for the art.
These feelings were perfectly understandable to us. Yet we also knew that, without greater openness, it would be difficult to propagate the art of Aikido as we went forward"(A Life in Aikido, p. 299.)

Ellis Amdur
08-22-2010, 10:08 PM
Johann - All of that is very nice. And true, as far as Ueshiba devoting his whole life to his spiritual quest. But I started this thread with a citation from another martial artist impressed with two things. His ability to avoid attack, and his ability to break arms.
(I am holding back from going in any number of directions regarding Ueshiba's "enlightenment," his history, and what he actually mean by "love." See Peter Goldsbury's" magnificent articles on this website for the facts rather than the fantasies),
The only reason I am interested in Ueshiba is in regards to wanting to be able to break arms as well as he reportedly could, and there is no evidence that his genuine fascination with Shinto, esoteric Buddhism or Omooto was the main factor endowing him with such arm-breaking abilities.
If I am looking for guidance on spiritual matters, I go to far finer men or women, such as Abraham Joshua Heschel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abraham_Joshua_Heschel), the close friend of Martin Luther King, or Hazrat Inayat Khan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazrat_Inayat_Khan)
Best
Ellis Amdur

dps
08-22-2010, 10:48 PM
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here (http://www.hyoho.com/inte1.html).

Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

I would not discount his physical strength. Most of his life was about acquiring physical strength and power.

David

ChrisHein
08-22-2010, 11:17 PM
When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...

Gorgeous George
08-23-2010, 12:22 AM
I'd disagree - if it was just natural talent and hard work, there would be many people who were Ueshiba's equal:
1. The Japanese army he was in was a modern army, complete with rifles, machine guns and cannons.
2. Many of his aikido students took challenges. I'm aware of some of the uchideshi inviting challengers upstairs to the fourth floor dojo at the Aikikai back in the seventies.
3. The uchideshi at Honbu dojo had the time to practice all day if they wished. It's not just a matter of practice (I don't want to dredge all the other threads into this one, but the whole issue that has, at times, consumed Aikiweb and has certainly been the subject of the last few years of my research is that it's not just practice hours, it's what you are practicing. And my assertion all along has been that Ueshiba didn't practice (or teach) what most of his followers did. It's not just "natural talent and hard work." Some of the shihan I met were both. Some of those shihan got as good as is humanly possible within the training paradigm they had. Ueshiba (and yes, the top Daito-ryu people) were using a different training paradigm.
Best
Ellis Amdur

1. I don't consider rifles, and cannons to be emblematic of a modern army; I think stuff like gunships, laser-guided missiles, and tanks are.
In the sense that the Japanese army of 1905 was not modern relative to today, therefore, o'sensei's life is one that is unique, as it has been consigned to history.
I believe he was nicknamed 'king of the bayonets' in the Russo-Japanese war; in a modern army, I think significantly less time is spent on training in hand-to-hand/close-quarters combat, as a result of technological advances.

As means of killing others have become more advanced and detached from the act, so mass slaughter has increased - e.g., the killing of Jewish people by the Nazis.

2. I don't dispute that - i've heard that newly-qualified black belts at the Yoshinkan HQ would deliberately pick fights with yakuza in order to test themselves; what I said was that whereas o'sensei was in the habit of challenging others to fights on his journey towards creating aikido, once he had created it, the/his ethos was one which promoted avoiding conflict.

3. I didn't say it was just a matter of practice.

Regards

- Graham

jss
08-23-2010, 01:34 AM
Don't you think that the superiority of o'sensei to all subsequent aikidoka can be attributed to the unique life he led, in a world which no longer exists?
But we don't need to recreate O-sensei's life with our own. Do we need to recreate Euclides his life with our own to be able to surpass his geometry? Do we need to recreate Muhammad Ali's life to become a great boxer?
I honestly believe that we if we research O-sensei's life and training methods, we should be able to improve upon it. Meaning we would be spending less time training to achieve the same level of skill. (Assuming the same amount of talent, to whatever degree that's a relevant factor.)
I mean, O-sensei invented aikido, so he must have wasted quite some time investigating what later turned out to be dead ends. That alone is reason to believe that if we are being taught correctly, we should be able to reach O-sensei's skill faster than he did himself.

I.e., he was a man of means - hence he did not have to work, and so could freely devote his time to budo
If you really want to, you have plenty of time to train.
And did O-sensei really devote all his time to budo? Or did he spend a lot of time praying, chanting and farming as well? How important were these activities for his skills?
Important question: do you want to become O-sensei? Do you want to achieve the same level of sprituality? Or the same level of arm-breaking skill?

he was in the army - in a conflict in which more modern means of killing were not at the fore
Ok, so more training of a specific kind. Or do you think one needs to kill some people with their bare hands to become O-sensei?

he lived in a society in which the martial arts were studied/practiced very seriously by others,
With the internet and modern means of transportation I think I have better access to serious martial arts practicioners than Ueshiba did.

and conflicts/challenges took place fairly regularly (granted they do nowadays, but not really among aikidoka - they are deliberately avoided, where possible).
There are enough MMA gyms and bad neighbourhoods nowadays.

I believe he was nicknamed 'king of the bayonets' in the Russo-Japanese war; in a modern army, I think significantly less time is spent on training in hand-to-hand/close-quarters combat, as a result of technological advances.
So you're implying a large part of Ueshiba's skill comes from his bayonet training in the army?

Daniel Lloyd
08-23-2010, 03:10 AM
When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...

Agreed with Chris, after all he was still just a man. We are all human. We don't have superpowers - no matter how much you dip yourself in radioactive waste.

(my 2 cents, no offense)

Gorgeous George
08-23-2010, 03:17 AM
But we don't need to recreate O-sensei's life with our own. Do we need to recreate Euclides his life with our own to be able to surpass his geometry? Do we need to recreate Muhammad Ali's life to become a great boxer?
I honestly believe that we if we research O-sensei's life and training methods, we should be able to improve upon it. Meaning we would be spending less time training to achieve the same level of skill. (Assuming the same amount of talent, to whatever degree that's a relevant factor.)
I mean, O-sensei invented aikido, so he must have wasted quite some time investigating what later turned out to be dead ends. That alone is reason to believe that if we are being taught correctly, we should be able to reach O-sensei's skill faster than he did himself.

If you really want to, you have plenty of time to train.
And did O-sensei really devote all his time to budo? Or did he spend a lot of time praying, chanting and farming as well? How important were these activities for his skills?
Important question: do you want to become O-sensei? Do you want to achieve the same level of sprituality? Or the same level of arm-breaking skill?

Ok, so more training of a specific kind. Or do you think one needs to kill some people with their bare hands to become O-sensei?

With the internet and modern means of transportation I think I have better access to serious martial arts practicioners than Ueshiba did.

There are enough MMA gyms and bad neighbourhoods nowadays.

So you're implying a large part of Ueshiba's skill comes from his bayonet training in the army?

I find your analogies to be inapt. In the cases you cite, their life experiences were not germane to their skill (to my knowledge); in o'sensei's, I believe they were.

There's a zen saying:

'Ninety-nine failures are part of the one success.'.

'Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.'

- Albert Einstein

I see these as very relevant when discussing the general matter of skill in an art - aikido, in this case. So while you talk of knowledge, and training methods, and the worthlessness of mistakes in teaching, I hold the contrary view that innovators tend to possess the same knowledge as their forebears and contemporaries, but surpass them in imagination/creativity - a unique perspective, essentially.
I think that having near-death experiences, killing people, and suchlike, tend to give insight, and alter your perspective - in the case of Dostoevsky, for instance, this is beyond refutation.

I don't know: why do empires - such as those of Ghenghis Khan and Alexander the Great - collapse once the figurehead dies, if the individual matters not?

Given that to o'sensei (if i'm not mistaken) praying, chanting, farming, and aikido were all to the same end, I think that he devoted all his time to budo - in fact, I think I recall a quote from him which goes something like 'My entire life is aikido'.
I also note the religious practices which are used in aikido:

http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm

Well, I think the fact that he fought in a war, and one which saw him less detached than some tend to be nowadays, is relevant when considering someone's understanding of martial arts, and matters of life and death. Maybe i'm a dick though, eh?

Wow: really? I heard, for example, that Sokaku Takeda was staying in a village once, and there had been a spate of robberies by a bandit. So he took to walking alone at night through the fields. A few days later, the man's body was found with a snapped neck.
I don't know who you train with, though - maybe this guy's experiences are old hat nowadays...they aren't in my country, though.

I'm not disputing the fact that you can go and have a fight with someone if you want.
I merely pointed out that o'sensei did not practice aikido throughout his entire life (it seems to me, anyway), as he taught it; if you are an advocate/devotee of aikido, you will have the goal of aikido in mind when you act, and so won't act contrary to it; if o'sensei always had this viewpoint, he wouldn't have done the stuff that people who do aikido nowadays don't do.
My own understanding is that, much as when martial arts were used for centuries in the civil wars of Japan solely to kill others, o'sensei had a similar outlook as to their purpose.
However, as time passed, and society changed/stabilised, martial arts came to be seen as philosophical practices; as having a vital social purpose, and whatnot; o'sensei came to a similar conclusion, regarding budo as an expression of love - as a means of protection for the innocent/society, rather than just a means of killing. So going out and having a scrap for a bit of fun/to satisfy your ego, is out.

...no: you misunderstand me again.
I am implying that being a martial artist in the sense of having faced death, and having killed men using your training, is quite a rare thing nowadays, and might - just might - have been an event that had some sort of effect on the man's life.
Facing your own mortality and taking another's life does occassionally do that, I think.

jss
08-23-2010, 04:17 AM
In the cases you cite, their life experiences were not germane to their skill (to my knowledge); in o'sensei's, I believe they were.
How can you tell? Perhaps it just seems that way, because there isn't a martial/religious organisation in their honor?

I see these as very relevant when discussing the general matter of skill in an art - aikido, in this case. So while you talk of knowledge, and training methods, and the worthlessness of mistakes in teaching, I hold the contrary view that innovators tend to possess the same knowledge as their forebears and contemporaries, but surpass them in imagination/creativity - a unique perspective, essentially.
I think that having near-death experiences, killing people, and suchlike, tend to give insight, and alter your perspective - in the case of Dostoevsky, for instance, this is beyond refutation.
If you want to practice the Aikido of O-sensei, you do not want to be an innovator to Aikido as O-sensei was to Daito-ryu. So I don't see the relevance of your comments regarding innovation.

Given that to o'sensei (if i'm not mistaken) praying, chanting, farming, and aikido were all to the same end, I think that he devoted all his time to budo - in fact, I think I recall a quote from him which goes something like 'My entire life is aikido'.
I was replying to your comment that "he was a man of means - hence he did not have to work, and so could freely devote his time to budo". If farming can be budo, sure several other activites can be budo as well. So one does not need to be a man of means to devote one's life to budo, one just needs to find a job that would qualify as 'budo'.

I also note the religious practices which are used in aikido:
http://www.budodojo.com/chinkon-kishin.htm
Those are as much physical as religious practices, btw. In my opinion, the physical aspects are more on topic here than the religious ones.

I merely pointed out that o'sensei did not practice aikido throughout his entire life (it seems to me, anyway), as he taught it; if you are an advocate/devotee of aikido, you will have the goal of aikido in mind when you act, and so won't act contrary to it; if o'sensei always had this viewpoint, he wouldn't have done the stuff that people who do aikido nowadays don't do.
That's a bit of a rotten deal, now isn't it? To become O-sensei, he followed steps A, B, C and D, after which he created Aikido. He then decides B and C are against aikido dogma. That would be fine if O-sensei had created a method consisting of step A', D, E and F leading to his skill level, but I'm affraid that's not the case. So if I want to be like O-sensei, I can do A and D, but not B and C and will never achieve O-sensei's skills. Or I can do A, B, C and D, achieve his skills, but then I wouldn't have been practicing aikido?
Unless one would argue that just doing A and D is fine and one does not need to develop the same powers as O-sensei acquired by doing B and C. If that's the case, we'd need to start a different thread as this one is about his power.

I am implying that being a martial artist in the sense of having faced death, and having killed men using your training, is quite a rare thing nowadays, and might - just might - have been an event that had some sort of effect on the man's life.
Facing your own mortality and taking another's life does occassionally do that, I think.
Agreed, but the question remains what are your goals in practicing aikido and to what degree is having such experiences required to achieve those goals? If they are relevant, you should be searching for those experiences. Otherwise you're lying to yourself about your practice.

Ecosamurai
08-23-2010, 04:33 AM
Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

In relation to this I wonder how much training Iwata Sensei had had at the time he met Ueshiba? Ellis you describe him as a peer of the founder but if I recall correctly Iwata Sensei didn't begin his iaido training in earnest until the 1950s, so after WW2 (i.e. after he met Ueshiba). I think he had some experience with it prior to WW2 and was a reasonably experienced kendoka before WW2, I may be recalling this incorrectly though. So a budoka, yeah but I wouldn't go so far as calling him a peer at the time of their meeting during the war.

Just a thought.

Ellis Amdur
08-23-2010, 07:18 AM
Mike - that's a fair enough critique. But I can recall martial artists from my young days who, then, blew me away and now I think, "Ehh?" Yet there are a few others about whom my perspective hasn't changed in the slightest (like Donn Draeger). Iwata sensei was still in awe of Ueshiba 40-50 years later.
I cited him as one more example of what is, to me, the most interesting evidence of skill. Other top-level martial artists, such as Haga Jun'ichi, who was at the peak of his skill at the time he was associated with Ueshiba had a similar view.
I similarly wonder if a film of Takeda Sokaku ever surfaced if we would experience a similar disappointment to that which I (and others) have voiced re Ueshiba's aikido, that it looked fake. I certainly have had that reaction to most Daito-ryu that I've seen on film (lots on YouTUbe these days).
Back to two things: "it has to be felt" - fair enough. But some are no longer around. So, if Takeda's contemporaries, or Horikawa's or Sagawa's were in awe of him - and they were NOT his students - that seems to be powerful evidence that they had something special.
And the only reason I'm interested in this at all is not "hero worship." Obviously, if I wrote a book called Dueling with Osensei: Grappling with the Myth of the Warrior-Sage, that's not my "problem." I'm simply interested in gleaning technical training information of those who manifested remarkable power - "aiki." And I'm interested because of the evidence that it existed/exists.
Best
Ellis Amdur

Flintstone
08-23-2010, 07:32 AM
Yes, and I'm talking about the person who said that the only way to achieve any of those things was by letting your ego die.
Are we really talking about the same man? Now, let me go back to my cave and read what the people who know will have to say.

oisin bourke
08-23-2010, 08:22 AM
I similarly wonder if a film of Takeda Sokaku ever surfaced if we would experience a similar disappointment to that which I (and others) have voiced re Ueshiba's aikido, that it looked fake.


From an interview with Sokaku which can be found at the Aikido Journal website

http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=186&highlight=bokuden:

Sokaku performs some techniques for the journalist who reports :

"The technique was so perfectly executed it left one somewhat unsatisfied. I was shown about ten matches of this type but the techniques were so quickly applied I couldn’t see how he managed the throws or pinned his adversary to the point he wasn’t even able to moan.

“It looks like a rigged match, doesn’t it.”

“Yes, it does,” I blurted out without thinking."

(Personally, I'm convinced that there's filmed footage of Sokaku somewhere. Whether we'll ever see it is another matter.)

The full interview is included in Stanley Pranin's book on Daito Ryu Aikijujutsu. It makes an excellent companion volume to Amdur's "Hidden in Plain Sight".

Ellis Amdur
08-23-2010, 08:35 AM
Oisin - Thank's for the reference. There was a film taken by the Asahi Newspaper, during Takeda's time in Osaka. I recall this discussed in another of Stanley's articles, perhaps one of the interviews with one of the Takumakai shihan.
I've heard rumors that that film - or even another one - is still in existence. And that those who are holding it will not release it to "outsiders," which means "anyone who isn't us." (I don't mean the Takumakai, btw). But given these are just rumors, nothing more to say.
Regarding the Asahi film, at least, I wonder if anyone has undertaken an exhaustive search through their old film archives, if they survived WWII.
Best
Ellis Amdur

Marc Abrams
08-23-2010, 08:57 AM
I think that there are two separate, yet related issues.
1) You have to have a certain natural predisposition to reach certain levels at anything. That is the nature aspect.

2) You have to have really good teaching and training methodologies (or discover them for that matter). That is the nurture aspect.

The unique combination or who O'Sensei was, along with what he was exposed to, created the martial arts "giant" that he became. We are all interested in learning, discovering, uncovering...... the aspects of his training that we can apply to what we are doing. Even with all of that, we will all have certain limitations, based upon the unique set of genes/dna/... that will impact where we end-up. There is a lot to be gained by learning what we can do to develop the "Aiki power" that O'Sensei had. We will also discover our own ceilings through life-long practice and hopefully practice. The bell-shaped curve of life will always be what it is.

Marc Abrams

Dan Rubin
08-23-2010, 10:17 AM
Other top-level martial artists, such as Haga Jun'ichi, who was at the peak of his skill at the time he was associated with Ueshiba had a similar view.

As did Hideo Sonobe "who was said to be without peer in Japan or anywhere in the use of the Naginata." At the 1939 Open Martial Arts Demonstration in Manchuria she watched Hideo Ohba's all-out attacks against O Sensei, and told him: "Mr. Ueshiba I have never seen more wonderful techniques than what you showed today. They were fantastic!" When O Sensei asked her what she liked best, "she replied that she liked the 'connections' (tsunagari) between techniques," a comment that Ohba did not understand. http://www.aikidojournal.com/article.php?articleID=408

More praise from one of O Sensei's peers, and also a reminder that to masters of any art, what's most impressive is often something that is meaningless to the rest of us.

RED
08-23-2010, 10:32 AM
Are we really talking about the same man? Now, let me go back to my cave and read what the people who know will have to say.

I don't know if we are talking about the same man,because you haven't given your opinion on the matter, therefore I don't have a point of contrast. But by your reaction, I'd fain a guess that we are not thinking about the same thing what so ever, which is why I asked if you even understood what I said.

Why do you live in a cave?:confused:

RED
08-23-2010, 10:38 AM
Maggie - Sorry, but for a man who may have said "let your ego die" (I don't recall reading that anywhere, but among the volcano of words that he uttered, why not?), he used the word "I" in writing and pronouncements about himself as much as anyone I've ever read.

That's actually a good point. That's why I previously called him a normal human being. Like us all, we seldom live up to our own ideals.
This is why I constantly protest that he was a normal man, who through the capabilities of a normal human being was able to accomplish spectacular results.
I think with the right set of conditions, every ordinary person can be successful at which ever endeavor they choose.

Being great at Aikido does take more than just practiced movements, I agree, there is something else to it. My opinion is that you shouldn't take the human spirit for granted.

Flintstone
08-23-2010, 10:56 AM
Why do you live in a cave?:confused:
We do live in caves down here in Spain.

RED
08-23-2010, 11:09 AM
We do live in caves down here in Spain.

hmm, well that explains a lot.

NagaBaba
08-23-2010, 11:14 AM
We do live in caves down here in Spain.
Lucky you, at least you have internet....up here, we have to send our messages using pigeons... :p

ps. sorry for OT

Ellis Amdur
08-23-2010, 11:23 AM
Dan - Thanks for the reference. And as I pointed out in HIPS (page 185-186), Sonobe was apparently enthralled because Ohba, thinking that anything less would be rude, attacked in an unrestrained, 100% manner, which "forced" Ueshiba to use what can only be considered Daito-ryu, rather than his innovations which had, perhaps, profound symbolic import, but less martial value.
Ueshiba was quite "wroth" with young Ohba, until Sonobe sensei praised him.
In an interview with Okumura sensei on Aikido Journal
In aikido, performing partners usually have some kind of agreement. However, Ohba Sensei attacked Ueshiba Sensei seriously, which turned out to have a positive result. Apparently, a naginata teacher called Sonobe [Hideo Sonobe, famous master of Jikishinkage-ryu] praised Ueshiba Sensei and told him, “The demonstration you gave today was the best I have ever seen.” This remark made Ohba Sensei, who had been feeling that the whole world was against him, feel greatly relieved. At that time I was a student and I saw this demonstration. The demonstration was as serious as any I have ever seen. I could tell that it was not a prearranged demonstration at all.

Best
Ellis Amdur

jonreading
08-23-2010, 11:26 AM
Videos just don't tell the story. I became so disappointed with aikido after a few years of training. My disappointment was that I'd heard of this founder, Ueshiba, who was so powerful and dynamically strong, yet I didn't perceive anything approaching that level of power even among my teachers. Even in videos of Ueshiba, it seems easy to criticize, because his aikido, like everyone else's, seems to follow a pattern of collusion. I've asked if the whole thing was a giant con.
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers. I just found another reference here (http://www.hyoho.com/inte1.html).

Please note that these were not "aikido students." They were young military policemen on the way to war - most with some degree of skill in other arts.
Once again, we return to the fact that what Ueshiba M. was doing was different. And notice this. "when he caught ahold of your hand" - not, "when you grabbed his wrist."
Best
Ellis Amdur

1. I believe that O'Sensei was an extraordinary martial artist. O'Sensei was recognized for his talent from/by his peers and the country itself on several occasions.
2. I believe the skill set of O'Sensei's aikido is not matched in aikido today. I am not sure that O'Sensei chose to disseminate his aikido in its entirety. I also think there are many individuals who understood to a greater or lesser extent, the aikido O'Sensei demonstrated but I am not convinced those individuals chose to disseminate that aikido in its entirety either.

I think O'Sensei chose to disseminate a curriculum that omitted aspects of his aikido, for [personal or] professional reasons he felt benefited the art. Additionally, I think some aikido people have chosen to elevate the spiritual focus of aikido above its application. Mix in competency issues with dissemination over 40 years and you are left with a confusing hodge-podge of techniques that work for some but not for others.

I think there are some aikido people out there who look back into the techniques and find the elements O'Sensei and his leading instructors did not disseminate. I also think these aikido people are separating the functional components of aiki from the "budo" that dominates many of our dojo curriculum. I think there is value in critically reviewing pre-war aikido. I think there is value to critically comparing karate, jujitsu, and other arts against similar movements and principles in aikido. I think there is value to scientifically analyzing aikido movement and its [relative] mechanics. I believe O'Sensei (and his leading students) chose to place a burden on future students to seek these extra puzzle pieces in their pursuit of better aikido. To the extent I have seen this new curriculum and education emerge, I am encouraged.

To beg the question, what if this new style of learning empowered aikidoka to actually fight their way out of a [collective] paper bag?

thisisnotreal
08-23-2010, 11:41 AM
Maybe you think this is out of place here, but I thought this a wonderfully insightful post from Gernot H. about Budo and Bujutsu.
Maybe this will help you get some direction (or at least the motivation to go out and look for some). My teacher said the other night that the difference between Budo and Bujutsu is like night and day.

Budo is like a religion: the practitioner takes some mental construct, a set of principles, and keeps those in mind as an ideal, and then goes through stylized moves that allow him or her to feel as though they are putting those ideals into physical motion and instilling discipline in themselves (budo is intended for social benefit). With that there is some exercise for the body. However, no great development of the body ever happens, nor detailed understanding of it; ergo, the understanding people find from doing budo is really not very deep at all. This is Shin-gi-tai in the order expressed in the phrase.

Bujutsu, on the other hand, does tai-gi-shin, exactly the opposite: the practitioner forces his or her body to undergo specific exercises that change the body and give him or her some deep understanding of the body, to great detail. As that understanding develops, the body can be used to perform so-called techniques (which are not really special movements, but only the body in motion according with the understanding given the practitioner), and finally, when the practitioner is really powerful, he or she may decide to no hurt or harm an opponent and use the training as a kind of ascetic exercise.

Thus, budo and bujutsu are sort of polar opposites.

Regards, Gernot

So Aikido is Budo, right? I read that a lot. Is it also Bujutsu? Was it? Does it need to be? Is it good it isn't? I'm curious what our seniors think on this.

What about the 'body transformative nature' in practice? Is it lacking? Is it present? etc.

Lee Salzman
08-23-2010, 11:46 AM
I think there are some aikido people out there who look back into the techniques and find the elements O'Sensei and his leading instructors did not disseminate. I also think these aikido people are separating the functional components of aiki from the "budo" that dominates many of our dojo curriculum. I think there is value in critically reviewing pre-war aikido. I think there is value to critically comparing karate, jujitsu, and other arts against similar movements and principles in aikido. I think there is value to scientifically analyzing aikido movement and its [relative] mechanics. I believe O'Sensei (and his leading students) chose to place a burden on future students to seek these extra puzzle pieces in their pursuit of better aikido. To the extent I have seen this new curriculum and education emerge, I am encouraged.

To beg the question, what if this new style of learning empowered aikidoka to actually fight their way out of a [collective] paper bag?

The problem you come to is, what if what you are analyzing for reverse-engineering purposes in the first place is a mockery of the original thing? If we are working from the assumption that actual viewable demonstrations of Morihei Ueshiba are rare, that many of the people who did encounter him in person are dead by now, that of those who are alive none felt they could equal him let alone pass what they saw onto their students, then all the the scraps we are working with are suspect.

It's like analyzing a photograph of a vehicle and trying to figure out how to build a working internal combustion engine from it. All we have are echoes of what the thing was, but the actual thing that powered it is nowhere to be found. To invent it from first principles just doesn't seem to be happening. I'm not saying, "abandon hope all ye who enter here", but just that several generations of aikidoka later, and despite cross-pollination with many disciplines, we are farther than we are closer.

Cliff Judge
08-23-2010, 12:13 PM
Has this been discussed before: what if Osensei really had no conscious understanding of what he was doing? What if he had some type of nerve damage when he was a boy and the fact that he could organize his neuro-muscular system in such a way as to project this amazing internal power was a result of that?

For better or for worse, my faith in my own teacher having the goods is pretty resolute; but in my darker times I wonder if he even knows how he can do the things he can do. Those who can do, do, those who can't teach, the western saying goes, but why do we assume in the aikido and greater japanese martial arts community that everybody who has talents for DOING things are going to have the slightest idea how to teach them?

Ellis Amdur
08-23-2010, 12:24 PM
CLIFF - the problem with this theory is that:
a) If this was so, his skills would not be replicable, and yet, the senior members of Daito-ryu had the same skills. Contemporaries, same teacher, same skills (yes, some variations, etc).
b) I think I've established in HIPS (sorry, broken record here), that he DID have an organized body of training. Just that he did not, post-war at least, deliberately pass the skills on, and when he demonstrated them - people didn't pay attention.

People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.
Ellis Amdur

chillzATL
08-23-2010, 12:28 PM
Ellis,

At this point, I think we know what he was doing. Maybe not every detail of ever exercise he did, but we know enough. While I am interested in the more specific details of how he and others got their skills, I don't think that's what's holding me back at this point. It's just a matter of putting in the time with what I know. Unfortunately I don't have the luxury of devoting ever minute of my day to training and getting these skills as he did. That alone may be why nobody ever surpasses him. Then again, we don't know just how much of "it" he actually had or how much he, with those skills, would stand out in todays martial arts world.

Rob Watson
08-23-2010, 01:05 PM
Then again, we don't know just how much of "it" he actually had or how much he, with those skills, would stand out in todays martial arts world.

Have recently watched ISKA US Open I must confess to being unimpressed as to martial effectiveness. Sure there was a tremendously high level of athleticism (those xma guys are 'out there') and quite a few of those fellows can most certainly break bones with great alacrity but whether they are representative of 'todays martial arts world' or not I don't think the founder would have stood out much in that crowd.

Comes down to the venue, no? One would expect to see considerably different material at the 'spy school' versus UFC, XMA, 'power breaking' etc. Different folks would stand out differently depending on where they are showing their stuff.

chillzATL
08-23-2010, 01:10 PM
Have recently watched ISKA US Open I must confess to being unimpressed as to martial effectiveness. Sure there was a tremendously high level of athleticism (those xma guys are 'out there') and quite a few of those fellows can most certainly break bones with great alacrity but whether they are representative of 'todays martial arts world' or not I don't think the founder would have stood out much in that crowd.

Comes down to the venue, no? One would expect to see considerably different material at the 'spy school' versus UFC, XMA, 'power breaking' etc. Different folks would stand out differently depending on where they are showing their stuff.

I should have been more to the point, but I was only refering to MMA.

Johann Baptista
08-23-2010, 02:20 PM
When we finally get over this hero worship/fantasy, the Aikido community will make some good forward progress. Until then...

Without using the particular words "Hero Worship", I would say that this quote is the exact reason that the Aikido community is not moving forward. We are too proud to recognize O Sensei's spiritual achievement for what it was. Consequently, we do not turn to his teachings for guidance as we practice the art that he created. Instead, we make up our own interpretations of what he believed, call his life a fantasy, think of Aikido merely as a set of physical movements, hide the existence of Ki by calling it a metaphor, etc. No one is taking Aikido to the Spiritual level that O Sensei created it to be. Remember, this is the guy who spent hours lecturing his students on the Kami. Its really sad that so many people have tried to make Aikido into an external art by slowly tearing away all of its spiritual roots. I understand that this is not meant, but never the less it occurs. It is all too easy to follow the little voice in our minds that doubts anything remotely mysterious; it is much easier to continue in our comfortable logical patterns of thinking.

As to what Ellis said: I appreciate the distinction, but I really do believe his physical power came from his spiritual achievements. I have also done a lot of research on his life and read several books by respected authors concerning it. No where have I found a version of events that "attempts to unmask the spiritual fraud that he is." And much earlier in the posts there were mentions about "being a bridge between Heaven and Earth" and letting go of Ego. Perhaps those posts too should be ignored too and we should go instead to the physical mechanics of breaking arms :) .

- Johann

chillzATL
08-23-2010, 02:55 PM
Without using the particular words "Hero Worship", I would say that this quote is the exact reason that the Aikido community is not moving forward. We are too proud to recognize O Sensei's spiritual achievement for what it was. Consequently, we do not turn to his teachings for guidance as we practice the art that he created. Instead, we make up our own interpretations of what he believed, call his life a fantasy, think of Aikido merely as a set of physical movements, hide the existence of Ki by calling it a metaphor, etc. No one is taking Aikido to the Spiritual level that O Sensei created it to be. Remember, this is the guy who spent hours lecturing his students on the Kami. Its really sad that so many people have tried to make Aikido into an external art by slowly tearing away all of its spiritual roots. I understand that this is not meant, but never the less it occurs. It is all too easy to follow the little voice in our minds that doubts anything remotely mysterious; it is much easier to continue in our comfortable logical patterns of thinking.

As to what Ellis said: I appreciate the distinction, but I really do believe his physical power came from his spiritual achievements. I have also done a lot of research on his life and read several books by respected authors concerning it. No where have I found a version of events that "attempts to unmask the spiritual fraud that he is." And much earlier in the posts there were mentions about "being a bridge between Heaven and Earth" and letting go of Ego. Perhaps those posts too should be ignored too and we should go instead to the physical mechanics of breaking arms :) .

- Johann

So you really believe that Ueshiba sensei was essentially a one-off? That one can't replicate his skills without also replicating, to some degree, the spiritual components of his life? Because those actually contributed to his physical skills?

What about those of his time who also had those skills but none of the spiritual components?

Lee Salzman
08-23-2010, 04:20 PM
People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.
Ellis Amdur

So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son? And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?

Gorgeous George
08-23-2010, 05:00 PM
So you really believe that Ueshiba sensei was essentially a one-off?

I don't see that there is a problem with answering 'yes' to this.
For instance, nobody has ever come close to Don Bradman in cricket - the man is quite clearly in a league of his own; this is adequate to show that one-offs exist.

danj
08-23-2010, 07:36 PM
O'Sensei was a one-off, well why not - so to was the Don and many others in Sports (basketball, gold etc..). But what are the commonalities to developing extraordinary ability and can we use that to improve our own practice.
Many had a wide diversity of experiences, exposure to high level practice at critical stages of development as well as freedom to be their 'own man'. That they are well known (rather than having their light hidden under a bushel) is another question of circumstance and opportunity.

Looking around you see few of Tohei's group being able to do what Tohei can do, others being able to do what Shioda did , Saito's group being able to do what he does .... etc... Is following the party line detrimental to development for the most talented?

In modern day times we see people like the systema founders, the gracie school all rise up and become well known in just a few years. technically highly skilled yes, but also something more that came with the freedom that allowed them to develop and also become internationally famous?

dan

PS Looking at the Don and beyond just talent, you see opportunities at an earlier age than is usual, not stuck in the system and traditions of english county cricket and probably many other things all of which might have just relegated him as a byline in history. Many of these things are understood today in sport with talent ID, pathways to international competition developed and an understanding of learning methods, its one reason why records keep getting broken...and some in a uniformly more talented field will stand forever.

jss
08-24-2010, 12:28 AM
So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son?
That's explained in 'Hidden in Plain Sight' (http://www.edgework.info/buy.html#book1). Ueshiba needed people to perform the movements of aikido as a ritual (The underlying body skills are not relevant to this, as long as it looks like aikido, it's fine.) to generate sprititual energy for him to channel as an avatar. So all those people doing aikido without any understanding of the body skills Ueshiba taught pre-WWII, were doing their job just fine.

And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?
Learning these skills means learning a different way to move. So that's a huge threshold right there in the beginning. Not everyone is able to recognize that threshold or to put in the effort to cross it.

Michael Varin
08-24-2010, 02:27 AM
So we are to take it that either Morihei sat idly by while his son single-handedly defined the art as most of us know it today and possibly diverging from what he considered was his real art, uncaring about that state of affairs it would create, or Kisshomaru knowingly watered it down? Would he really feel that divorced from the art and his son? And is Kisshomaru being skilled a binary proposition, that he must train every waking minute to have any skill at all? Would he not have at least the same quality of skills, just in much lesser quantity, but still identifiable as such, if he was shown how to train them but merely trained them minimally adequately?
Lee,

Thanks for raising those sensible questions. I think that these searches into Ueshiba's past and what he "really" knew all too frequently start with assumptions that are counter to all the things we plainly know about aikido.

People wonder, then, why Ueshiba Kisshomaru didn't get the skills then. If his father was truly old school, if the son didn't ask AND if he didn't demonstrate his interest by training as hard as his father, then he wouldn't be taught. OR - he was taught, but didn't put in the hours of practice. (Unlike, we can assume, Gozo Shioda, whom Tenryu stated was closest to Ueshiba in skills - and this is important because they were utterly different in both physical make-up and character.

What about Morihiro Saito? If anyone should have known what Morihei was doing it should have been him. And I doubt anyone could have been more loyal or put in any more time than Saito either.

Ueshiba Sensei who was very powerful

I don't know the Japanese that was used, but "powerful" can mean a lot of different things. For instance, it can mean a controlling influence over others, which would have been a direct answer to the question Iwata was asked.

No one could reach him, he moved so well and his spirit was so strong. Even when ten people tried to attack him at the same time they were not able to catch him. But when he caught hold of your hand you had to move where he wanted you to move or your arm would break.

I'm not saying that we should diregard this type of information, but I don't know why this comment should be so important or interesting. It is one person's perception or memory of an event.

I am not fluent in Japanese, and don't research this type of thing as thoroughly as Ellis or some others, but I don't believe that there is any good evidence that Morihei broke anyone's arm, or face, or hips.

Likewise, there is no reason to believe that when Morihei practiced aikido it would look any more or less impressive than any other skilled practitioner… After all, aikido is cooperative. Having said that, of course Morihei likely had very good skills and if pushed, as in the story with Ohba, his successful response would always be more impressive than a typical demonstration.

That's why Anderson Silva's triangle choke in the fifth round against Chael Sonnen is infinitely more impressive than a triangle choke in a demo.

gen1 = Ueshiba Morihei
gen2 = 0.8 X gen1 (i am very generous of 80%)
gen3 = 0.8 X gen2

which generation are you?

Question: Why is it that if you created a "formula" for modern mma that you would find exactly the opposite phenomena?

thisisnotreal
08-24-2010, 06:55 AM
At this point, I think we know what he was doing. Maybe not every detail of ever exercise he did, but we know enough. While I am interested in the more specific details of how he and others got their skills....

hi Jason, I'm struggling with this...How did you mean that?
All the best, Josh

chillzATL
08-24-2010, 08:17 AM
hi Jason, I'm struggling with this...How did you mean that?
All the best, Josh

Hi Josh,

I believe the type of internal training being discussed here by Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and others is exactly what O'sensei did to get the skills that made him such a standout. IMO, while his spirituality may have directed the changes he made to the techniques (maybe not), it had nothing to do with the power behind those techniques. Again, while we might not know every exercise he did along the way, I think that's fairly insignificant. Once you gain a certain amount of skill at it, lots of things can become your training exercises.

http://www.egreenway.com/vsjournal/images/ueshiba77.jpg

The above pic is the cover of the book Budo. I bought this book around 20 years ago and from day one I wondered "why is he pushing on a tree". I asked around and nobody really seemed to know. I've since found two references to this image and both say that he said it was "kokyu training", one even said that "he did it every day". Anyone who has read enough of the above peoples posts will notice some similarities in this image and some of the basics they talk about. O'sensei obviously felt this was important enough to do every day. As you learn more about those methods you can start to find other similarities too.

So yah, I think we know what he was doing to get his skills. It just becomes a matter of getting some good hands on instruction (which he had) and putting in the time and effort to get there (which he did). Piece of cake! =P

Lee Salzman
08-24-2010, 08:27 AM
That's explained in 'Hidden in Plain Sight' (http://www.edgework.info/buy.html#book1). Ueshiba needed people to perform the movements of aikido as a ritual (The underlying body skills are not relevant to this, as long as it looks like aikido, it's fine.) to generate sprititual energy for him to channel as an avatar. So all those people doing aikido without any understanding of the body skills Ueshiba taught pre-WWII, were doing their job just fine.


I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, and its advantages over just positing Morihei as self-absorbed? This seems to say that not only was he self-absorbed, he was grandiose.


Learning these skills means learning a different way to move. So that's a huge threshold right there in the beginning. Not everyone is able to recognize that threshold or to put in the effort to cross it.

But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have? He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle, and he was an intelligent man, so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone. Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.

chillzATL
08-24-2010, 08:32 AM
I don't see that there is a problem with answering 'yes' to this.
For instance, nobody has ever come close to Don Bradman in cricket - the man is quite clearly in a league of his own; this is adequate to show that one-offs exist.

Yah but by ignoring the rest of the post and focusing on only that one sentence, you completely change the context of the entire thing.

My point was that by relating his physical skills to his spiritual persuits, you instantly make his level unattainable to the majority, but his skills were definitely physical. He never turned into a purple cloud and threw someone across the room. What he did was physical and as such it can be replicated through physical means.

With the vast number of physical records that are broken daily in this world, there are very few if any physical one-offs anymore. Even in cases where someone is so good that they're never actually surpassed, you still see skill levels that are comparable...except in Aikido..

Lee Salzman
08-24-2010, 08:41 AM
Hi Josh,
I believe the type of internal training being discussed here by Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and others is exactly what O'sensei did to get the skills that made him such a standout. IMO, while his spirituality may have directed the changes he made to the techniques (maybe not), it had nothing to do with the power behind those techniques. Again, while we might not know every exercise he did along the way, I think that's fairly insignificant. Once you gain a certain amount of skill at it, lots of things can become your training exercises.

http://www.egreenway.com/vsjournal/images/ueshiba77.jpg

The above pic is the cover of the book Budo. I bought this book around 20 years ago and from day one I wondered "why is he pushing on a tree". I asked around and nobody really seemed to know. I've since found two references to this image and both say that he said it was "kokyu training", one even said that "he did it every day". Anyone who has read enough of the above peoples posts will notice some similarities in this image and some of the basics they talk about. O'sensei obviously felt this was important enough to do every day. As you learn more about those methods you can start to find other similarities too.

So yah, I think we know what he was doing to get his skills. It just becomes a matter of getting some good hands on instruction (which he had) and putting in the time and effort to get there (which he did). Piece of cake! =P

I would be careful with the word "exactly". There seem enough accounts of what Morihei did, either second-hand or otherwise, so if he was doing stuff he learned at a Mike Sigman workshop behind closed doors, no one saw it. It seems more likely that he was doing pretty much those things people recall him doing, and that if he was getting something from it, it was remarkably inefficient, given that he spent almost all his time doing it, and refined on power he was remarked as having long before it ever became aikido.

Maybe we can posit there are hypothetically more efficient ways, but given what we have documented Morihei as actually doing, and not merely drawing parallels to other training methods, can we explain how he actually built power from what he specifically did?

The guy could also have just been crazy and believed he was communing with the tree each morning, like you have a friendly chat with your neighbor when you see him on your way out to work. :D

chillzATL
08-24-2010, 09:01 AM
I would be careful with the word "exactly". There seem enough accounts of what Morihei did, either second-hand or otherwise, so if he was doing stuff he learned at a Mike Sigman workshop behind closed doors, no one saw it. It seems more likely that he was doing pretty much those things people recall him doing, and that if he was getting something from it, it was remarkably inefficient, given that he spent almost all his time doing it, and refined on power he was remarked as having long before it ever became aikido.

Maybe we can posit there are hypothetically more efficient ways, but given what we have documented Morihei as actually doing, and not merely drawing parallels to other training methods, can we explain how he actually built power from what he specifically did?

The guy could also have just been crazy and believed he was communing with the tree each morning, like you have a friendly chat with your neighbor when you see him on your way out to work. :D

There really aren't a lot of accounts of what he personally did. Even what was taught in the dojo in the pre-war years isn't well documented. besides, this is traditional japanese martial arts. The secrets were never transmitted to all the students. So you have to focus on the ones who actually have demonstrable skills. Then you have to filter that down further by looking at what those people are doing, not what they say. None of them give open credit to their teachers for their skills. Even Ueshiba and Sagawa aren't open in giving credit to Takeda, though it's safe to say that he is the primary source for their generation.

That whole communing with the tree stuff is the most common answers I got when I asked about that picture and at the time it sounded reasonable. Now, having felt a little of this other stuff, i don't buy that anymore. Especially when we have quotes where he specifically called it "kokyu training". That he supposedly did it every day says that it was important and probably part of the foundation of what he did. Considering that we find similar exercises also being considered 'The basics" in a lot of these other things... well...it's just too coincidental for me.

As for the changes he made to aikido and whether or not they're efficient in transmitting or building those skills. Maybe his changes simply weren't good for building his skills without some side knowledge , but they were good enough for an aging man to continue to "stretch his aiki" so to speak, and maybe that's all he was concerned about. Some people might get the core of what he wanted to pass along, but the majority would not and that is in keeping with TJMA.

Everyone seems to hold him to a higher standard for passing along the secrets of his art. Like he was obligated to do so. Which is odd considering how foreign that notion is in most every other MA out there.

David Orange
08-24-2010, 09:06 AM
I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, and its advantages over just positing Morihei as self-absorbed? This seems to say that not only was he self-absorbed, he was grandiose.

Lee, you need to read that book. It's really good. And Jason summarizes that part pretty well. OSensei saw himself as a shaman or the head priest of a shrine, and all the followers of aikido as like sweepers of the sidewalks in the shrine. Ellis did a great job with the book.

And as for the changes from OSensei's early days in aikijujutsu (up until 1941) into aikido (from then on), most of that was done by Kisshomaru and Tohei. Meanwhile note the unswerving technical direction of Shioda's Yoshinkan, which stayed remarkably martial and effective, despite taking on the same name as the mainstream "aikidance" type of aikido.

I don't see OSensei as having been so much "grandiose" as just dedicated to an otherworldly vision that nothing in the universe (except maybe Sokaku Takeda) had ever impeded and in fact which the universe seemed happy to endorse in his case. He didn't want to "be seen as" doing something mystical: he wanted to "do" it. He wasn't concerned about how others saw him and his words reflected only the way he saw his own role.

But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have? He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle, and he was an intelligent man, so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone. Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.

Mochizuki Sensei often recalled walking Kisshomaru to school, holding an umbrella over his head, on behalf of OSensei (I don't know what year that would have been, but he indicated that Kisshomaru was literally a child then.

He also said that Kisshomaru had undergone some kind of abdominal surgery in his youth and was literally unable to do some of the "yang aiki" that OSensei used. He said that Kisshomaru was good at the "yin aiki" that emphasizes yielding and soft blending, but that he couldn't at all do some of the more forceful things OSensei did.

If that were the case, he might have literally been physically unable to undergo the kind of training Jason refers to. And this would obviously have prevented his "passing on" the kinds of skills his father had. But this would not have prevented his leading the world in "sweeping the sidewalks" or "generating the spiritual energy" that OSensei needed in his role as head priest, knowing and possessing powers that none of the later generations were even aware of.

Gambarre.

David

David Orange
08-24-2010, 09:19 AM
My point was that by relating his physical skills to his spiritual persuits, you instantly make his level unattainable to the majority, but his skills were definitely physical.

With the vast number of physical records that are broken daily in this world, there are very few if any physical one-offs anymore. Even in cases where someone is so good that they're never actually surpassed, you still see skill levels that are comparable...except in Aikido..

That's right. But in OSensei's actual generation (direct students of Sokaku Takeda), you find Sagawa and Horikawa, who are said to have been comparable. And Mochizuki Sensei said that Kyuzo Mifune, of judo, was comparable to OSensei in his ability to throw effortlessly and at will, almost anyone he met. And Toku Sampo seems to have been at about the same level as Mifune. So while OSensei was unique and remarkable, he wasn't a total anomaly. It is interesting that OSensei and Mifune never met. It would have made an important historical benchmark to have some kind of record of a match between them.

And then there was the matter of OSensei's skill as a promoter--whether of himself or of himself on behalf of his spiritual pursuits. These days, very few people know the name of Toku Sampo and it's hard to find any record of him or much information about him, but in prewar Japan, he was well known. But people like that are usually not self-promoters for any reason.

There is no question that OSensei was unique and extremely powerful, but he was a man among men and not a god. So I think you're right that the difference that makes the difference has always been available for those who are really seeking and not just following and imitating.

Hope you guys had a good meet-up on the 14th and that I can get together with Jang and the gang again soon!

Best wishes.

David

Dan Rubin
08-24-2010, 09:41 AM
Dan - Thanks for the reference. And as I pointed out in HIPS (page 185-186)....

You mean I'm supposed to read it?? I've been sleeping with it under my pillow!:D

Ellis Amdur
08-24-2010, 10:08 AM
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

David Orange
08-24-2010, 10:15 AM
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

That was the year of my birth.

Actually, I think I recall mention of that as you say. Of course, when I say "met," I meant something like when Morihei met Tenryu...

Thanks.

David

Nicholas Eschenbruch
08-24-2010, 10:17 AM
I don't see OSensei as having been so much "grandiose" as just dedicated to an otherworldly vision that nothing in the universe (except maybe Sokaku Takeda) had ever impeded and in fact which the universe seemed happy to endorse in his case. He didn't want to "be seen as" doing something mystical: he wanted to "do" it. He wasn't concerned about how others saw him and his words reflected only the way he saw his own role.

That's a very good point, I think. And he did it, in fact. Thanks for the interesting discussion, everybody.

I cannot even imagine to get inside the head (body image, language to describe the body and its experiences; already the body/mind terminology gets me right here...) of somebody like Ueshiba Morihei, and I strongly believe it is impossible already for that reason to neatly divide his activities between spiritual and martial.

(Of course, there is no need to do that if we use history for clues on how to become better fighters now, as the OP does. Then we can be agnostic as to the spiritual altogether, and just go for the evidence we need.)

Also, just because person X today is an amazing fighter, uses an internal conditioning system and can teach it (and we may be grateful for that) does not allow the conclusion we know what Ueshiba Morihei did. That sometimes seems to get muddled up when discussing his person and aiki/internals, I find.

jss
08-24-2010, 10:47 AM
I have not had the pleasure of reading HIPS, so could you elaborate on the supporting evidence for this interpretation a bit, [...]
Well, the pleasure is easily obtainable through the link I posted. :D
As part of HIPS is a number of revised essays that Ellis Amdur wrote for AikidoJournal, there you go:
It is my interpretation of Ueshiba Morihei's mission that he saw himself as a kind of avatar, instrumental in ushering in a golden age of redemption, the unification of heaven, earth and man (which, by the way, is a classic Chinese formulation, integrated into Omotokyo by Deguchi Onisaburo, and given it's own idiosyncratic spin).

Secondly, it is my belief that Ueshiba was, to a considerable degree, unconcerned about whether others became avatars like himself, regarding each aikido practitioner as a) living out his or her own fate b) doing the work of the "spiritual working class," accumulating merit and energy through aikido practice itself, just as the followers of the Byakkokai did so by prayer, while Goi, another avatar, did the hard work.

Thirdly, Ueshiba believed that others with the innate destiny/ability could themselves become such avatars. Therefore, he did not, I believe, see himself as betraying Deguchi in staking out his own path, nor was he, apparently, overly concerned with his students who went their own way. They were doing the aikido practice—their prime function—and if they had the goods, they'd look at the circle/square/triangle, and "figure it out themselves."
[source: http://www.aikidojournal.com/?id=846]

And now onto the difficult questions, I have even less of an answer on:
But is this a barrier Kisshomaru would have been so inadequate as to have never crossed if he could have?
See David Orange's comment concerning the abdominal surgery. Might have been a factor.

He clearly devoted enough time to training aikido for people to respect him as Doshu despite all the more highly skilled students of Morihei he had to wrangle,
Perhaps he became the Doshu because he could base his authority on being the son of the founder and the head of the Tokyo dojo. Of course, he was also skilled enough, but the fact he was obviously not the highest skilled, may have prevented a lot of discussion and conflict.
Again, I don't know. I wasn't there when they decided who was to become the Doshu.

so this doesn't seem plausible if he had a relatively clear path to it laid out by someone.
Who says the path was relatively clear?

Either he didn't know, did not try at all, or there was some unfathomable aikispiracy he was in on.
My guess is that he didn't try hard enough. Perhaps because he didn't see the importance, perhaps because he didn't have the time, perhaps because some other reason.

jonreading
08-24-2010, 10:56 AM
The problem you come to is, what if what you are analyzing for reverse-engineering purposes in the first place is a mockery of the original thing? If we are working from the assumption that actual viewable demonstrations of Morihei Ueshiba are rare, that many of the people who did encounter him in person are dead by now, that of those who are alive none felt they could equal him let alone pass what they saw onto their students, then all the the scraps we are working with are suspect.

It's like analyzing a photograph of a vehicle and trying to figure out how to build a working internal combustion engine from it. All we have are echoes of what the thing was, but the actual thing that powered it is nowhere to be found. To invent it from first principles just doesn't seem to be happening. I'm not saying, "abandon hope all ye who enter here", but just that several generations of aikidoka later, and despite cross-pollination with many disciplines, we are farther than we are closer.

I do not contend the need to reverse-engineer anything. In fact, I would argue to that point that what aikido is today could not be reverse-engineered because the mechanics of the techniques have been modified beyond function and are therefore not reproduce-able with consistency.

What I contend is there are instructors in karate, jujitsu and the classical arts, (other non-Japanese arts as well) who can better explain ki and the concepts of aikido than some of our own aikido instructors. We need to critically evaluate how and why our instructors are behind the curve. We need to critically evaluate why our [physical] competency lags behind peers in other arts.

Aikido pre-existed O'Sensei, O'Sensei was just the person who codified the techniques and principles of aikido. So I also do not contend that we should look to O'Sensei to emulate his aikido. In fact, I believe the aikido O'Sensei disseminated (certainly in his later years) was abridged and not complete in its education. I believe it is necessary to extend our research to early aiki budo, aiki jujitsu and the classical arts from which O'Sensei derived aikido.

Ultimately, I believe the solution to correcting our curriculum will be derived from the learning experience and education to which O'Sensei was exposed, not the aikido he taught. I think that solution will include a physicality that will challenge many, a constitution that will challenge many and a training ethic that will challenge many. I think the solution will not appeal to the masses, but I certainly look forward to seeing its products...and learning how to fight my way out of a paper bag...

Eric Joyce
08-24-2010, 11:12 AM
Aikido pre-existed O'Sensei, O'Sensei was just the person who codified the techniques and principles of aikido.

Your right, it was called jujutsu ;)

statisticool
08-24-2010, 05:33 PM
gen1 = Ueshiba Morihei
gen2 = 0.8 X gen1 (i am very generous of 80%)
gen3 = 0.8 X gen2


If someone attempts to mug me, or worse, and I am forced to defend myself...why does any of this matter?

Justin

Dan Rubin
08-24-2010, 05:42 PM
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

This is from Kobayashi's memoir. I don't know if it refers to the same occasion, but I this occasion he listened (and mostly forgot):

One of my pleasantest memories from this period is of having a meal with O-Sensei and Judo’ Kyuzo Mifune Sensei. It was about 1958 or 59 at the house of Saburo Sugiyama, who was the president of Sugiyama Contruction, had a judo dojo, and was also a regent of the Aikikai. He invited both of these famous men, and both agreed to come. Through the discernment of both of these men, a strict yet calm atmosphere prevailed for those of us who had chosen our paths; we were all extremely appreciative and took turns serving them sake.

I don’t remember much about the discussion except that Mifune Sensei expressed the Judo philosophy “If pushed, pull—if pulled, push.” But O-Sensei commented after that, “If pulled, turn," summing up in a phrase containing a flash of brilliant insight, it seemed.

http://www.kobayashi-dojo.com/english/book/3_5/

Ellis Amdur
08-24-2010, 05:58 PM
Thanks, Dan. That was the occasion I was thinking of - I conflated it with the 1955 occasion.
It is too bad that they did not touch palms, even in the most sedate of fashion.
Ellis Amdur

phitruong
08-24-2010, 08:15 PM
If someone attempts to mug me, or worse, and I am forced to defend myself...why does any of this matter?

Justin

in that situation, would you rather have the skill level of gen1 or gen2 or would rather have skill level of gen5? think of skill level and your chance of survival. personally, i rather want to increase my chance of survival by having the skill level of Gen0, i.e. Ueshiba's teacher.

gdandscompserv
08-25-2010, 07:19 AM
DISCLAIMER: I know little to nothing about internal aiki.
:D
While making my daily bicycle commute to work I was thinking about the mechanics of my pedaling action. I ride with toe clips so that I am able to use an additional muscle group to assist in pedaling. Some folks only use the down action to propel one forward. Most regular bike riders readily recognize the efficiency involved in utilizing both the up and the down stroke. This is how I think Ueshiba Morihei and others are able to do remarkable things. They have trained themselves to engage not only additional muscle groups, but also, tendons, ligaments, fascia, etc. I believe this can be a powerful combination of human energy. And don't forget their amazing ability to store and release energy at will. GOOD STUFF!

Budd
08-25-2010, 07:43 AM
Meh, go get hands on people that say they work on "internal strength" . . see for yourself. If you're just happy doing what you're doing, that's awesome, too. Just keep in mind, it doesn't necessarily mean you have a clue about internal strength, though. And if what's been written about what Ueshiba "did" versus what's mostly practiced around the world as "aikido" today doesn't make you at least curious enough to investigate more . . then the likelihood of you making many strides into the IS space isn't very high, either, as it requires a ton of solitary dedication, exploration, research and even obsession.

thisisnotreal
08-25-2010, 08:33 AM
I think you have to say Ueshiba Morihei's strength is manifold.
-He had an aiki body that was well developed. I think this is the foundation of everything else that leads us to be discussing him today. I personally find this the most fascinating part. I think this is the gas that powers the waza..... the *source* of his power.
-On top of this he had a sense of ethics and morality that he evolved; and he was extraordarily dedicated, committed, self-consistent, and sincere, amongst a host of other admirable qualities, that all feed into this 'strength'. "A Life In Aikido" describes a lot about this amazing life.
-In addition to that he had his own brand of spirituality that unfolded and let him believe, with the utmost commitment, in himself and his world view to a level most people know nothing about. Frankly most people don't think too hard about too many things about this life.

I believe this combination of his bodily strength/skill, his laser-like focus, adamantine willpower, intestinal fortitude that is beyond humbling, and his dedication to a cause larger than himself (i.e. the shinto Worldview; and the gods) all represent facets that drove this man's life into a resonance of power, strength, and achievements. I do not think he ever looked back....always looking forward..he did the best he could...qualifying that statement insofar as to say he committed to, and searched for, pieces that fit the puzzle...the way he intuitively saw it and wanted to work with...it. Either he knew what he was searching for; or searched for what he knew... or needed...or wanted.

I think that each of these strengths can be analyzed separately. I do not find this disrespectful. Perhaps in an older time; to study with a man; you had to do and be everything he was. I do not know. I can see that some would have a problem with this; for if they want to follow Ueshiba Morihei, but perhaps not so much if you can take him as a teacher.... to help you..in subjects you want to learn about. We are _each_ in _our_ own lives...too short to follow... I think we have to each lead our own lives.

Just my random thoughts on this; and all the many fine posts in this thread.
Thanks, Josh

statisticool
08-25-2010, 03:37 PM
in that situation, would you rather have the skill level of gen1 or gen2 or would rather have skill level of gen5? think of skill level and your chance of survival. personally, i rather want to increase my chance of survival by having the skill level of Gen0, i.e. Ueshiba's teacher.

When stuff hits the fan one has whatever skill level they have. Maybe all that matters is your skill level is greater than the skill level of whoever is trying to do mean things to you.

Justin

gregstec
08-25-2010, 05:38 PM
. . then the likelihood of you making many strides into the IS space isn't very high, either, as it requires a ton of solitary dedication, exploration, research and even obsession.

IMO, I think the obsession is ki :D

Johann Baptista
08-25-2010, 05:52 PM
So you really believe that Ueshiba sensei was essentially a one-off? That one can't replicate his skills without also replicating, to some degree, the spiritual components of his life? Because those actually contributed to his physical skills?

I do. Understanding the exact attitude he held when doing Aikido is critical to understanding the Aikido he did. The kind of attitude you hold while practicing has incredible effects on your technique, posture, spacing, etc. On a very basic level, if you are angry, your Aikido becomes sloppy, if you are happy your Aikido becomes more fluid. On deeper levels, I have noticed significant improvement in my Aikido when I hold different mentalities like extension, harmony, love, visualization, sacredness, etc. On the other hand my Aikido crumbles when I hold mentalities like arrogance, perfectionism, aggression, skepticism, etc. From my experiences I conclude that a person approaching Aikido with the intention to make himself incredible so he can show his friends will do different Aikido than someone who approaches it with the intention to cultivate mind, body, and spirit.

What you do in life alters the way you perceive your Aikido. How you perceive your Aikido alters your practice. Altering your practice (obviously) alters your technique.

What about those of his time who also had those skills but none of the spiritual components?

I don't think there were any in his time who had his skill. There were many martial arts masters, but none threw their opponents in quite the same way. People who were Uke for O Sensei often said that they couldn't feel themselves being thrown. Saotome Sensei spoke of seeing a mountain in Morihei's place. He said he was afraid to attack at first, and after finally coming in, Morihei was gone. Instead, he heard the whizzing of three full bokken strikes behind is back. Just ten minutes earlier he had laboriously supported O Sensei up the stairs. Isn't this what this thread is about? How no one could replicate his skill? If there were masters with his skill, not even necessarily from Japan, then there must be something a little bit more profound behind their skills than just the physical. And obviously, O sensei taught that the key to Aikido is the spiritual. Why don't we listen to him? His approach has apparently been the most successful after all!

- Johann

David Orange
08-25-2010, 07:53 PM
...I conclude that a person approaching Aikido with the intention to make himself incredible so he can show his friends will do different Aikido than someone who approaches it with the intention to cultivate mind, body, and spirit.

Yeah, it will. But the point here is an examination of what really constitutes "cultivating" the mind, body and spirit: is it just following the movements or is it peering into the depths of their nature? Is it repeating the forms or digging out the essence behind the form? Is it to practice only the avoidance that we see now, or to find the ability to be unmoved as Morihei Ueshiba definitely had?

In my opinion, getting to the root of Ueshiba's power is far more important than imitating his outward appearance.

I don't think there were any in his time who had his skill.

Well, what about his teacher, Sokaku Takeda? Morihei apparently never equaled Sokaku's skill, much less surpassed it. And there were Sagawa and Horikawa, who were also direct students of Sokaku's. And there was Mifune. My teacher was uchi deshi to both Ueshiba and Mifune and he said that Mifune was equally able to throw his opponent on contact, effortlessly, at will. So I think this discounts the idea that Morihei's particular spirituality was a prerequisite for obtaining that kind of skill and power.

There were many martial arts masters, but none threw their opponents in quite the same way. People who were Uke for O Sensei often said that they couldn't feel themselves being thrown.

Same for Mifune. And there is a guy in Omaezaki named Kyoichi Murai who can throw pretty much anyone without their being able to feel it happening: he was the only person I ever met, in fact, who could really do that to me.

Saotome Sensei spoke of seeing a mountain in Morihei's place. He said he was afraid to attack at first, and after finally coming in, Morihei was gone. Instead, he heard the whizzing of three full bokken strikes behind is back. Just ten minutes earlier he had laboriously supported O Sensei up the stairs. Isn't this what this thread is about? How no one could replicate his skill?

Not at all. This thread is about the true nature of Morihei's skill and what it really takes to obtain that.

If there were masters with his skill, not even necessarily from Japan, then there must be something a little bit more profound behind their skills than just the physical. And obviously, O sensei taught that the key to Aikido is the spiritual. Why don't we listen to him? His approach has apparently been the most successful after all!

How can we "listen" to Morihei if we don't even know anyone who ever actually knew him? There is, of course, more to it than the merely physical, but that's mostly called "determination" and "dedication." I think this thread is much more about casting off the blinding idea that no one can obtain Morihei's skill and opening our eyes to the fact that "listening to Morihei" by following the rote movements of people who never met him only leads us further from who and what he was.

Best to you.

David

Michael Varin
08-26-2010, 04:24 AM
Not at all. This thread is about the true nature of Morihei's skill and what it really takes to obtain that.
Well, let's not be so selective when looking at Morihei's powers. The aiki = internal strength crowd loves to frame the story conveniently for their beliefs. But there is far more to the myth and mystery of Morihei Ueshiba.

Here are just a few examples off the top of my head.

Morihei obviously had enormous physical strength. He is rumored to have moved a tree trunk single handedly, that several men combined could not move.

Morihei on varied occasions demonstrated the ability to know the thoughts of others.

Morihei was able to "shout" a man back into balance who had fallen backwards while walking up some stairs.

Morihei could dodge bullets. This skill included being able to see a beam of light that was the bullets trajectory the moment before the bullet was fired. It also included the ability to cover a large distance in an extremely short time. He was positioned 25 meters from the firing squad, and before the smoke cleared was behind them and had actually thrown one of them. He did this twice in a row.

I believe that those last two stories were witnessed and reported by Gozo Shioda.

Ecosamurai
08-26-2010, 07:03 AM
Morihei obviously had enormous physical strength. He is rumored to have moved a tree trunk single handedly, that several men combined could not move.

That the uprooting a pine tree story (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=421)? Utter crap, it never happened. At least not the way it's been implied it happened.

Don't believe me? Consider the following: Pine Trees have a deeper tap root than most trees, this in addition to the spread of a regular root system that you'd have to be standing on by necessity if you were trying to uproot the tree single handed. You could do it single handed if you were a) fairly strong for your size and b) using some tools to cut through the roots as you went. This BS story gets trundled out all the time as evidence of Ueshiba Sensei's super human strength, I assume it's provenance is this comment by Saotome Sensei, but the comment is actually quite vague and gives just enough detail (plus the context it's presented in) to be very suggestive of some sort of super strong lumberjack guy, who fells trees with his bare hands and then chews the bark off them all before throwing them like javelins to the storage depot 20 miles away.

chillzATL
08-26-2010, 07:11 AM
Well, let's not be so selective when looking at Morihei's powers. The aiki = internal strength crowd loves to frame the story conveniently for their beliefs. But there is far more to the myth and mystery of Morihei Ueshiba.

Here are just a few examples off the top of my head.

Morihei obviously had enormous physical strength. He is rumored to have moved a tree trunk single handedly, that several men combined could not move.

Morihei on varied occasions demonstrated the ability to know the thoughts of others.

Morihei was able to "shout" a man back into balance who had fallen backwards while walking up some stairs.

Morihei could dodge bullets. This skill included being able to see a beam of light that was the bullets trajectory the moment before the bullet was fired. It also included the ability to cover a large distance in an extremely short time. He was positioned 25 meters from the firing squad, and before the smoke cleared was behind them and had actually thrown one of them. He did this twice in a row.

I believe that those last two stories were witnessed and reported by Gozo Shioda.

Many of his students, even his own son, discount most of this stuff. Most of which can be found in the interviews on AJ.

David Orange
08-26-2010, 07:12 AM
Well, let's not be so selective when looking at Morihei's powers. The aiki = internal strength crowd loves to frame the story conveniently for their beliefs. But there is far more to the myth and mystery of Morihei Ueshiba.

Sure. But what modern aikido school claims to teach any of that?

For one, Mochizuki Sensei utterly scoffed at the idea of uprooting any kind of tree while standing on the root structure of that tree.

For another, Sokaku Takeda had phenomenal prescience and the ability to read minds. One story, told by Tokimune Takeda, involved a woman at an inn who seemed to be a bit unusual but intriguing. Sokaku refused to have anything to do with her and said right off that she was crazy. Everyone else was offended by his attitude, but soon the woman's husband came and confirmed that she was insane.

Such awareness is a by-product of serious training and even I have had many occasions to be able to understand people's thoughts and intentions instantly. Not to the level of either Morihei or Sokaku, but something of that does come from extensive aiki training, even of the tai sabaki and avoidance type. It has to be very serious training, of course.

But again, no modern aikido school claims to teach that kind of thing. What they do claim is that by simple repetition of the forms of the techniques, with a completely cooperative partner, you can develop the phenomenal throwing abilities that Morihei Ueshiba possessed. It is here that the "aiki = internal strength crowd" draws the line. And from my experience in both approaches, I am sure that the internal strength approach is the true way to approach Morihei's power.

Best wishes.

David

phitruong
08-26-2010, 07:22 AM
Don't believe me? Consider the following: Pine Trees have a deeper tap root than most trees, this in addition to the spread of a regular root system that you'd have to be standing on by necessity if you were trying to uproot the tree single handed. You could do it single handed if you were a) fairly strong for your size and b) using some tools to cut through the roots as you went. This BS story gets trundled out all the time as evidence of Ueshiba Sensei's super human strength, I assume it's provenance is this comment by Saotome Sensei, but the comment is actually quite vague and gives just enough detail (plus the context it's presented in) to be very suggestive of some sort of super strong lumberjack guy, who fells trees with his bare hands and then chews the bark off them all before throwing them like javelins to the storage depot 20 miles away.

you meant it's not true, shocking. you meant the grapevine system didn't work like in this movie? http://www.mytopclip.com/play.php?vid=18005 :D

i guess i have to stop chewing on the bark. the sap just stuck to the teeth and ruin my dental. also, i need to use the leather gloves, because the delicate skin on my hands are a mess and the wife won't let me touch her (which might be a good thing). not to mention, the neighbors are complaining about seeing trees flying over their roofs and knocking out their satellite dish. neighbors are kinda annoying, guess i have to go over and show them some aiki stuffs. :D

phitruong
08-26-2010, 07:29 AM
For another, Sokaku Takeda had phenomenal prescience and the ability to read minds. One story, told by Tokimune Takeda, involved a woman at an inn who seemed to be a bit unusual but intriguing. Sokaku refused to have anything to do with her and said right off that she was crazy. Everyone else was offended by his attitude, but soon the woman's husband came and confirmed that she was insane.

David

"unusual but intriguing" = flirtatious and hot looking

i'll bet Sokaku said to himself "whew! lucky i didn't start to hit on her; otherwise, when the husband show up, we would have to find a quick exit!" so the lesson from Sokaku is, if you see a "hot, flirtatious" woman, assume that she has a really big and strong boyfriend/fiance/husband. don't go and get yourself in trouble, which is the way of aiki, i.e. aikido. :D

Ecosamurai
08-26-2010, 08:10 AM
But again, no modern aikido school claims to teach that kind of thing. What they do claim is that by simple repetition of the forms of the techniques, with a completely cooperative partner, you can develop the phenomenal throwing abilities that Morihei Ueshiba possessed. It is here that the "aiki = internal strength crowd" draws the line. And from my experience in both approaches, I am sure that the internal strength approach is the true way to approach Morihei's power.

I'd argue that the aiki suggested by the internal strength folks is not the same as O Sensei was shooting for post war, the soft ghostlike techniques where uke simply cannot feel what is being done to them. I've heard stories of people describing the difference between O Sensei and Tohei Sensei and they said that they couldn't feel O Sensei but when Tohei threw them they knew they'd been thrown and it was very powerful.

I do wonder about that journey, from v.powerful to ghostlike technique and wonder if you have to have the first before you can learn the other, right now I think you do, but I'm starting to wonder if this is true all the time.

chillzATL
08-26-2010, 08:19 AM
I'd argue that the aiki suggested by the internal strength folks is not the same as O Sensei was shooting for post war, the soft ghostlike techniques where uke simply cannot feel what is being done to them. I've heard stories of people describing the difference between O Sensei and Tohei Sensei and they said that they couldn't feel O Sensei but when Tohei threw them they knew they'd been thrown and it was very powerful.

I do wonder about that journey, from v.powerful to ghostlike technique and wonder if you have to have the first before you can learn the other, right now I think you do, but I'm starting to wonder if this is true all the time.

Have you felt anyone who has some skills though? Kinda hard to make that statement otherwise.

David Orange
08-26-2010, 08:26 AM
i guess i have to stop chewing on the bark. the sap just stuck to the teeth and ruin my dental. also, i need to use the leather gloves, because the delicate skin on my hands are a mess and the wife won't let me touch her (which might be a good thing). not to mention, the neighbors are complaining about seeing trees flying over their roofs and knocking out their satellite dish. neighbors are kinda annoying, guess i have to go over and show them some aiki stuffs. :D

I used to work in a steel mill around 1979, just after college, when I had ikkyu in yoseikan aikido--around the time I met Mochizuki Sensei. The other workers often got mad at me because I had boundless energy and my efforts were a lot more efficient than theirs. Some guy took me aside and told me to slack off because I was making the others look bad. For instance, one day, a supervisor gave me some "make work" to keep me busy for awhile. He took me to a yard between some buildings and showed me a bunch of timbers and other stuff scattered all over this fairly large area. I didn't realize that his intent was to keep me occupied and that I was supposed to take a couple of hours to do this work. The timbers were about five feet long, I guess, and about 4X4". Instead of picking each one up and carrying it to a spot, I just went from timber to timber, grabbed each one by one end and pulled with one hand by turning my body, guiding the length with my other hand (wearing those leather gloves, of course). As I turned, the other end of the timber would come off the ground and I would fling it, through a spiral movement, and send it whirling across the space, several feet in the air. I went from timber to timber and flung them all to a very small area, where I then quickly stacked them. I took about fifteen minutes to do what they expected to take me a couple of hours. And then I was through. Everybody thought I was an idiot for getting stuff done fast because their aim was to stretch it out and take as long as possible to do as little as possible.

With the "average" man thinking and working like that, you don't really have to be too efficient to put them in the shade.

Another thing, about "prescience" or "mind-reading": one of the guys asked me about aikido while we were sitting in a break room and when I tried to explain, he said, "Show me something." So we stood up facing each other, at good ma-ai, several other guys watching. He looked at me and when he decided to attack, I saw "something" rise within his body, like water or air moving up from his lower body into his chest. He instantly stopped and said, "You felt that, didn't you?"

I said, "Yeah."

He said, "I felt you feel it." and that was all the demonstration he wanted. But he always liked me after that.

Careful of those teeth on the bark, now. You hear?

See you.

David

Ecosamurai
08-26-2010, 08:40 AM
Have you felt anyone who has some skills though? Kinda hard to make that statement otherwise.

I have felt and appreciated the type of internal skills described by various people on aikiweb from both aikido practitioners and other martial artists. I've been through the argument here on aikiweb about it too. I find the insinuation that you have to have been to a Mike Sigman or some similar seminar before you're entitled to make that statement on aikiweb to be disingenuous at best. So I don't play that game around here anymore, it's just not worth the argument.

David Orange
08-26-2010, 08:54 AM
I find the insinuation that you have to have been to a Mike Sigman or some similar seminar before you're entitled to make that statement on aikiweb to be disingenuous at best. So I don't play that game around here anymore, it's just not worth the argument.

It's not for argument's sake that that comparison comes up. We don't know who you've trained with or what you've felt. But if you say you felt Ark's power, then we know we're on the same page. The consensus seems to be that either Dan, Mike or Ark will give you a very clear, unquestionable exposure to the kind of power we're talking about.

There's no question that other people exist who can give you a similar experience, but the point is to reference them to some "baseline" experience. If you've trained with Dan or Ark, then I know pretty much what you consider to be "internal power." If you haven't met them or Mike, then I don't know what kind of thing you felt or what you might be referring to.

For example, I recently had someone tell me that he can do everything Mike Sigman has shown on tape. And he can also do a lot of the things Ark has demonstrated on tape. But he didn't describe ever having met anyone who had that kind of power. He just developed it on his own.

The problem there is that he judges himself to be more or less on the same level (or at least in the same stream) as Mike, Ark and Dan, even though he's never felt the power that any of them can produce. And he is actually afraid to meet some of these guys. So it really makes me doubt that he has any real idea, despite his very confident explanations.

But if someone tells me they've met and experienced the power of any number of people (Dan, Mike, Ark, Forrest Chang, Chen Xiao Wang, Sam Chinn, Howard Popkin....or any of a number of others), then I can feel confident that we're at least talking about the same thing. As I described earlier, the "average person"'s level is so inefficient that he can be easily impressed by anyone with a little skill. We just need some reference that we can relate to to understand what has impressed you as great power. It's not an attack or a challenge. Just some common point of reference.

In other words, to someone from Lipscomb, Alabama, Birmingham is "a big city." But to someone from Tokyo, New York is not so big.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-26-2010, 08:59 AM
I'd argue that the aiki suggested by the internal strength folks is not the same as O Sensei was shooting for post war, the soft ghostlike techniques where uke simply cannot feel what is being done to them.

No offense, but I think you've got it backward: the soft, ghostlike technique is based in the knowledge from pre-war aiki (DRAJ). It's not something OSensei developed after the war. Otherwise, none of the pre-war people would have it and all the post-war guys would.

I've heard stories of people describing the difference between O Sensei and Tohei Sensei and they said that they couldn't feel O Sensei but when Tohei threw them they knew they'd been thrown and it was very powerful.

And I think that proves my point: Tohei was the main architect of modern aikido.

I do wonder about that journey, from v.powerful to ghostlike technique and wonder if you have to have the first before you can learn the other, right now I think you do, but I'm starting to wonder if this is true all the time.

Well, I think it comes from the internal skills. Shioda certainly seems to have had the ability to control inexplicably and to either blast you or drain your power at will and by choice.

Best wishes.

David

Ecosamurai
08-26-2010, 09:12 AM
It's not for argument's sake that that comparison comes up. We don't know who you've trained with or what you've felt. But if you say you felt Ark's power, then we know we're on the same page. The consensus seems to be that either Dan, Mike or Ark will give you a very clear, unquestionable exposure to the kind of power we're talking about.

The point is not lost on me, I'm simply not interested in having the discussion any more. If it matters so much to you then I belive Mike Sigman will be teaching not far from me in the not so distant future, you are at liberty to donate the funds to me that will enable me to attend :) Otherwise I will happily take it as read that some people whose background in aikido I know well and share to a certain degree who have been to such seminars are of similar opinion to me, i.e. that what's being discussed isn't new, it is actually old. It never left aikido and I've been training in it for years.

At this point I shall exit the conversation as Jun usually has to step in and moderate once things go past this section of the well trodden path involving the 'you have to have felt it from someone we know' argument..

David Orange
08-26-2010, 09:26 AM
The point is not lost on me, I'm simply not interested in having the discussion any more. If it matters so much to you then I belive Mike Sigman will be teaching not far from me in the not so distant future, you are at liberty to donate the funds to me that will enable me to attend :)

I would like to, but I can barely scrape together the funds for my own putting in place! :)

Otherwise I will happily take it as read that some people whose background in aikido I know well and share to a certain degree who have been to such seminars are of similar opinion to me, i.e. that what's being discussed isn't new, it is actually old. It never left aikido and I've been training in it for years.

If I hadn't met so many folks in aikido who make wet noodles look like O Sensei, I might agree with you. But I know that in most aikido I've encountered, it just is not there.

However, I do know that British aikido has good strong roots, so I won't say there aren't some dojos with a lot of great power. It's just that the one Englishman I met at the yoseikan (not a yoseikan man, by the way) just didn't have a trace of it. Still, I know about the Hut Dojo and a lot of that history and that Mochizuki Sensei was a big force with some Brits. So I won't discount what you say.

At this point I shall exit the conversation as Jun usually has to step in and moderate once things go past this section of the well trodden path involving the 'you have to have felt it from someone we know' argument..

I don't think Jun will be bothered as long as we don't get personally insulting about things. And I don't think anyone is saying you have to have felt it from "someone we know" but at least from someone we know "of"--in other words, from someone who's known to 'have it'.

Best to you.

David

Budd
08-26-2010, 10:19 AM
I want to echo what David is saying in some respects. I dislike somewhat the notion that there's a Cool Kids Club around Internal Power discussions because I think there needs to be higher level discussions (bringing it back onto the topic of this thread) around "how this stuff works" and "what these guys were doing" - which can allow for people to postulate about communing with the kami, etc.

That being said, since the tenor of the discussions often circle back to - what was Ueshiba doing and capable of . . how to get there . . - it does help when there's a baseline from which to speak. One of those baseline's is "Who have you gotten hands on and who has gotten hands on you?" . . another one is "How does this stuff work, please explain?" . .

Neither of which are perfect for any number of reasons . . but from the standpoint of offering opinion or assertions, it does help from a credibility perspective. And not going so far to the "prove it" space so much as the notion of offering validity for what you say. As it is, there's enough posters that tend to make things up or just type whatever sounds nice in their head without running it through some rationality filters, anyways.

Anyways, where I'm going with it is that it's helpful is all - doesn't need to come across as a challenge. I reserve the strongest opinions until I get hands on somebody anyways. But what tends to push me in the direction of seeking someone out is how well reasoned and credibly they present themselves.

Lee Salzman
08-26-2010, 01:44 PM
I want to echo what David is saying in some respects. I dislike somewhat the notion that there's a Cool Kids Club around Internal Power discussions because I think there needs to be higher level discussions (bringing it back onto the topic of this thread) around "how this stuff works" and "what these guys were doing" - which can allow for people to postulate about communing with the kami, etc.

I think that's why this thread is best left to discussions of Morihei Ueshiba's power, and ways in which we can actually relate to what he could do, rather than necessarily trying to come up with hypotheses on how to do it (to avoid the inevitable thread banishment to the NTMA section).


That being said, since the tenor of the discussions often circle back to - what was Ueshiba doing and capable of . . how to get there . . - it does help when there's a baseline from which to speak. One of those baseline's is "Who have you gotten hands on and who has gotten hands on you?" . . another one is "How does this stuff work, please explain?" . .


But how many of us have gotten our hands on Morihei Ueshiba? We have no actual basis of feel, besides maybe someone like Saotome Shihan, which with to say, "Yeah, that feels like what he was doing." So we can at best say, "Yeah, that feels like what I think it would have felt like if Morihei Ueshiba did it to me, based on what I've read other people have felt." Big difference, and I think this gets to Ellis' original point at the beginning, that what he felt from his teachers did not match up with what he heard others felt from O'Sensei? So we can go out and feel men who may even be doing exactly the things O'Sensei did, or maybe even things far beyond him, and we relative aikido newbies just can only be impressed by what's put in front us of without any definitive answers. Or even, we could have felt the real thing all along from someone else, and be dissatisfied with it because we're expecting to feel the wrong thing.


Neither of which are perfect for any number of reasons . . but from the standpoint of offering opinion or assertions, it does help from a credibility perspective. And not going so far to the "prove it" space so much as the notion of offering validity for what you say. As it is, there's enough posters that tend to make things up or just type whatever sounds nice in their head without running it through some rationality filters, anyways.

Anyways, where I'm going with it is that it's helpful is all - doesn't need to come across as a challenge. I reserve the strongest opinions until I get hands on somebody anyways. But what tends to push me in the direction of seeking someone out is how well reasoned and credibly they present themselves.

The burden of proof could/should go even farther than just feeling someone who impresses you. They should be able to articulate a way for you to get an actual little taste of doing what they're doing. I mean, they didn't just practice for a long time and suddenly 10 years later one day wake up with skills. They built them bit by bit, and if they can show you how to do the initial bits, and make you believe that you can also build off those to get to them, that's real proof of construction, and probably makes the person come off as well reasoned and credible. :)

And I think this mandates actually feeling a physical, tangible effect in your body to manifest something. Not just imagining you are projecting your love and respect for all beings/nature/life/etc. into your aikido, but something that can really be quantified, at least subjectively, and intuitively perceived as arising in your body. If you're on the right path and you've practiced 1/Nth as much as O'Sensei, you should be 1/Nth as skillful as O'Sensei in the same qualitative way - yeah, yeah, progress is not linear but you should still have something to show for it. I did not demand this of my own training for a long time, but having experienced more, I sorta demand it for myself now.

But if someone tells me they've met and experienced the power of any number of people (Dan, Mike, Ark, Forrest Chang, Chen Xiao Wang, Sam Chinn, Howard Popkin....or any of a number of others), then I can feel confident that we're at least talking about the same thing. As I described earlier, the "average person"'s level is so inefficient that he can be easily impressed by anyone with a little skill. We just need some reference that we can relate to to understand what has impressed you as great power. It's not an attack or a challenge. Just some common point of reference.

This is a biggy. I've gone off into the weeds a few times, studying with people that could power movement in interesting ways that did not depend on them doing any particular movement, but they imbued the movements with a power that was not normally there. They all had different ways of building and using this, and very few of them of them were things I could actually figure out how would improve my practice of aikido. But yet, they improved my overall martial capabilities and changed how I train.

And then when I encountered some people in the above specific group you mention, David, I felt like, "Oh, duh, THAT could really apply to aikido." What they were doing was analogous in some ways, but I would have not figured it out from prior people who had their own brand of power. Had I just gone straight there, it probably would have saved me a lot of time messing around with other things if my sole interest was diving deeper into aikido. A group of peers who have agreed-to-agree and vet eachother in person about what power is that can drive aikido, not just power that is not normal - I just didn't get it till I saw it. :)

David Orange
08-26-2010, 05:44 PM
When stuff hits the fan one has whatever skill level they have. Maybe all that matters is your skill level is greater than the skill level of whoever is trying to do mean things to you.

And the purpose of shugyo is to prepare for the worst possible case. I've always felt that the worst aspect of modern aikido is that it tends to paint the attacker as an utter imbecile, teaching us that an attacker is going to over-commit in his attack, give us a big, obvious attack, and stay down after we effortlessly throw him once (with a smile).

The reality is that we need to prepare for someone who is bigger and meaner than we are, stronger, faster and every bit as smart, with experience in fighting and robbery, and will likely have at least one partner and may well be armed.

To leave anything open to chance by ignoring some potential to develop greater effectiveness is not to train at all.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-26-2010, 05:51 PM
...Had I just gone straight there, it probably would have saved me a lot of time messing around with other things if my sole interest was diving deeper into aikido. A group of peers who have agreed-to-agree and vet eachother in person about what power is that can drive aikido, not just power that is not normal - I just didn't get it till I saw it. :)

True that.

But even if you think you're wasting your time (or you look back at what you previously did and think that was a waste), you still probably got something out of it--hopefully more than just bad habits!!!

But when you really feel it from someone who really has it, the light bulb goes on. And in that light, maybe all you can see is a bunch of stuff you can't understand. But at least you're not in the dark anymore!

Best to you.

David

Johann Baptista
08-26-2010, 07:20 PM
Yeah, it will. But the point here is an examination of what really constitutes "cultivating" the mind, body and spirit: is it just following the movements or is it peering into the depths of their nature? Is it repeating the forms or digging out the essence behind the form? Is it to practice only the avoidance that we see now, or to find the ability to be unmoved as Morihei Ueshiba definitely had?

In my opinion, getting to the root of Ueshiba's power is far more important than imitating his outward appearance.

But... You're agreeing with me... cool. :D

- Johann

Scott Burke
08-26-2010, 08:42 PM
Coming in late to all of this. I've had a pet theory for a while now, not about Ueshiba's martial ability per se, but about his visions and supposed ability to see beams of light coming from attackers and whatnot. Quite simply, I think that he was suffering from some form of late onset synesthesia, perhaps brought about by some neurological or spinal trauma in his training. Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition wherein stimulation of one sense creates a cross modal association in another. People see shapes of sounds, taste colors, etc... Perhaps even see the light of one's attacker?

This is not to say that I think his ability in aiki was caused by some sort of neurological rewiring. But lets face it, the man hallucinated nearly on a daily basis. For the most part we either accept Ueshiba's words about his visions as an expression of some eccentricity of his religious beliefs or we ignore it for the same reason.

At the very least, I suspect somewhere along the lines Ueshiba banged himself around so much that he inflicted trauma on his brain, perhaps lesions on his temporal lobe. I recall reading that sometimes Ueshiba would experience periods of sudden weakness and need support from his students, then in relatively short time would recover and put on demonstrations, proclaiming the proper spirits entered his body. Poor guy was probably experiencing some form of a seizure but framed the experience through his religious worldview.

Again I think this is all independent of his martial abilities, but it does help make certain claims made by Ueshiba become clearer.

Just my 2 cents

HL1978
08-27-2010, 07:34 AM
Having trained with Koretoshi Maruyama Sensei and experienced the direction he is taking his aikido I think I'm starting to appreciate - if only on an intellectual level - the journey from that internal power to that soft ghostlike technique where uke simply cannot feel what is being done to them.

FWIW

Mike,

Can you comment on what you feel is different between internal power to soft ghostlike technique? Do you see this as being any different than the "wrestling an empty jacket" comments told about the old time judo guys?

David Orange
08-27-2010, 07:38 AM
Coming in late to all of this. I've had a pet theory for a while now, not about Ueshiba's martial ability per se, but about his visions and supposed ability to see beams of light coming from attackers and whatnot. Quite simply, I think that he was suffering from some form of late onset synesthesia, perhaps brought about by some neurological or spinal trauma in his training. Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition wherein stimulation of one sense creates a cross modal association in another. People see shapes of sounds, taste colors, etc... Perhaps even see the light of one's attacker?

Good grief. First of all, Morihei's "seeing the beams of light from riflemen's bullets" happened in the 1905 Japanese war with Russia--long before he ever began aiki training with Sokaku Takeda.

Second, unless you're a neurologist, I wouldn't encourage such diagnoses of a man who had one of the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known--especially without direct examination. But if you must theorize so, at least get the time frames correct. He had those experiences from his young adulthood, so where you get "late onset" disease I must assume is from less-than-careful reading of his life history. And I would think that such experiences in early life, caused by neurological damage, would likely lead to progressive damage and loss of function as he aged, but Morihei continued to become more and more highly tuned and efficient into his advanced age.

This is not to say that I think his ability in aiki was caused by some sort of neurological rewiring. But lets face it, the man hallucinated nearly on a daily basis. For the most part we either accept Ueshiba's words about his visions as an expression of some eccentricity of his religious beliefs or we ignore it for the same reason.

I don't think his experiences would fall into the category of halucinations. I think he understood that these were all personal spiritual experiences and that he did not believe these were actual things happening in the physical world around him, wondering why everyone else didn't see them. And even though he did believe the gods of Japan entered his body and empowered him, that would more usually be called "inspiration" than "halucination." He cultivated these experiences through esoteric Buddhist and Shinto practices and I'm sure he would have been amazed if any ordinary human had experienced those things without those arduous efforts.

At the very least, I suspect somewhere along the lines Ueshiba banged himself around so much that he inflicted trauma on his brain, perhaps lesions on his temporal lobe. I recall reading that sometimes Ueshiba would experience periods of sudden weakness and need support from his students, then in relatively short time would recover and put on demonstrations, proclaiming the proper spirits entered his body. Poor guy was probably experiencing some form of a seizure but framed the experience through his religious worldview.

Again, I think you're conflating time periods and states of his health. Morihei never had periods of sudden weakness in the course of his normal life until he was very old and had deteriorated over many years. He may have had some defined periods of ordinary illness, but no one has ever suggested that he had "sudden spells" of weakness during his prime. And the stories about his sudden moments of energizing in his advanced age were told to point out that, despite the disease he bore (I think it was kidney or bladder trouble--maybe cancer), his inspiration could lift even such a weak old body and enable him to perform feats of great strength. I'm not aware of any neurological damage that gives that kind of boost in performance.

Again I think this is all independent of his martial abilities, but it does help make certain claims made by Ueshiba become clearer.

Hardly. I'd suggest that if you want to make these kinds of speculations, you go back to your sources and read a full life history of the man and get that clear, then rethink your ideas.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
08-27-2010, 07:46 AM
Mike,

Can you comment on what you feel is different between internal power to soft ghostlike technique? Do you see this as being any different than the "wrestling an empty jacket" comments told about the old time judo guys?

And Kyuzo Mifune, whose technique was called "kuki nage"--air throw, or "empty spirit throw"?

Not to say that Morihei was anything but incredibly unique. Mochizuki Sensei had a photo of Jigoro Kano (the empty jacket man) at the right side of the kamiza in his dojo and a photo of O Sensei at the left. But he had a driftwood dragon--symbolizing O Sensei--in the kamiza (seat of the gods). He revered and respected Jigoro Kano, but he loved Morihei Ueshiba on a different level and I never doubted which he considered the greater master. And it's pretty clear that Kano, too, understood that Ueshiba was on a different level than himself, entirely.

Best to you.

David

phitruong
08-27-2010, 08:02 AM
This is not to say that I think his ability in aiki was caused by some sort of neurological rewiring. But lets face it, the man hallucinated nearly on a daily basis. For the most part we either accept Ueshiba's words about his visions as an expression of some eccentricity of his religious beliefs or we ignore it for the same reason.


you mean he had been eating too much those mushrooms behind the Iwama shrine? you got any that you could share? have been wanting to commune with some kami for awhile now to see if i can get the right number for the local lottery. all the working and family and mundane life stuffs are messing with my aiki pursuit. so i need to win the lottery so i have time and resource to do spiritual aiki pursuit. and maybe i be able to absorb Ueshiba spirit so i can improve my aikido. of course, i would need a japanese translator to translate the stuffs in my head at that time. :D

mathewjgano
08-27-2010, 08:36 AM
Coming in late to all of this. I've had a pet theory for a while now, not about Ueshiba's martial ability per se, but about his visions and supposed ability to see beams of light coming from attackers and whatnot. Quite simply, I think that he was suffering from some form of late onset synesthesia, perhaps brought about by some neurological or spinal trauma in his training. Synesthesia is a fascinating neurological condition wherein stimulation of one sense creates a cross modal association in another. People see shapes of sounds, taste colors, etc... Perhaps even see the light of one's attacker?

This is not to say that I think his ability in aiki was caused by some sort of neurological rewiring. But lets face it, the man hallucinated nearly on a daily basis. For the most part we either accept Ueshiba's words about his visions as an expression of some eccentricity of his religious beliefs or we ignore it for the same reason.
While that doesn't seem impossible, I'm more inclined to think he was well-practiced at purposefully generating visualizations.
If I close my eyes and look at the back of my eyelids, with a little focus, I see colors and shapes...granted, I have been banged up a bit too. Sensory deprivation chambers are used to demonstrate this interesting phenomenon where the mind sort of replaces the lack of sensory input. If someone can learn to control this very well, why couldn't that person also actively apply that to daily life? ...And perhaps even apply it to subconscious processes?

Demetrio Cereijo
08-27-2010, 09:17 AM
Good grief. First of all, Morihei's "seeing the beams of light from riflemen's bullets" happened in the 1905 Japanese war with Russia--long before he ever began aiki training with Sokaku Takeda.

I think it was in 1924, while travelling with Deguchi in Mongolia. Ueshiba served in the Russo-Japanese war, but not in the front.

Hardly. I'd suggest that if you want to make these kinds of speculations, you go back to your sources and read a full life history of the man and get that clear, then rethink your ideas.

If he does this, he could change his theory and conclude Ueshiba had what is called Savant Syndrome.

Scott Burke
08-27-2010, 10:08 AM
Hi David. I admit its been a few years since I memorized my Ueshiba history, so I apologize for ticking you off with my less than encyclopedic knowledge of time and place. Work. Keeps a man busy.

First, who says training with Takeda was the precursor to his becoming a synesthete, if indeed physical trauma was the direct causal agent?

Second, the condition does also occur naturally. I believe I read in some journal or other in as many as one out of every 250,000 individuals. That in mind, change the words "late onset" with "early onset", apply it to the times in his life when his visions occurred and reconsider the possibility. See, that's the great thing about science. You get new data, you revise and correct. Simple.

Third, while I never met Ueshiba believe it or not I have worked with the mentally ill in Japan. They have told me about their visions and yes what they have to say does sound eerily familiar to the great master's recorded experience. And you know what, that's just fine, because there should be no stigma attached to those afflicted with neurological disorders.

From the patients I've met I can tell you that their hallucinations are deeply spiritual experiences for them. This image you seem to have of people shouting wild eyed at others wondering why everyone else didn't see them(hallucinations), that's Hollywood man.

Once again, my two cents.
Scott Burke

Scott Burke
08-27-2010, 10:20 AM
One more quickie

I'm not aware of any neurological damage that gives that kind of boost in performance.

Nor am I, but there have been many cases in medical literature of tumors spurring excessive production of hormones in the body. Acromegaly is a nasty one. There's a profile here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/16/AR2007071601914.html) of a once powerful acrobat who discovered that the source of her strength was a cancerous tumor. Hmmn. Wait. Ueshiba died of cancer... you don't suppose?... Nahh.

In camaraderie,
Scott Burke.

David Orange
08-27-2010, 04:53 PM
I think it was in 1924, while travelling with Deguchi in Mongolia...

I see that you are correct on that, Demetrio.

Thanks.

David

David Orange
08-27-2010, 05:14 PM
Hi David. I admit its been a few years since I memorized my Ueshiba history, so I apologize for ticking you off with my less than encyclopedic knowledge of time and place. Work. Keeps a man busy.

It's not so much a lack of encyclopedic knowledge as putting out a theory like that with no real basis at all. Speculation is one thing, but weaving up a theory of brain damage to explain Ueshiba's performance, when no one has ever indicated that he suffered any kind of injury that could account for that just strikes me as unnecessarily bizarre, which is a little irritating.

First, who says training with Takeda was the precursor to his becoming a synesthete, if indeed physical trauma was the direct causal agent?

But what could possibly give anyone the idea that Ueshiba had suffered such damage--and on top of that, to speculate that the nerve/brain damage caused his superior performance? In fact, I think there should be no question that it was Deguchi's mystical influence that inspired Ueshiba's bent toward visions and colorful imagery.

Second, the condition does also occur naturally. I believe I read in some journal or other in as many as one out of every 250,000 individuals.

Maybe, but the way you earlier handled the timelines and events of Morihei's life makes me wonder if you're correctly representing this figure, as well...

I think Occams Razor would lead us to explain these things by the irrationality of Japanese culture in Morihei's time, paired with his extensive involvement with a man who considered himself to be the Messiah. With Morihei's already fantastic levels of physical ability and his natural charisma and ability to lead and influence other people, it seems only natural that he would feel quite comfortable seeing himself as a similar shaman or avatar. Then there is all the extant Chinese thinking, the Heaven-and-Earth-United by Man kind of ideas and so on. I don't see any reason to believe any kind of injury caused the experiences he worked assiduously to attain. And most important, I'm not aware of anyone's ever accounting any kind of serious injury to him, despite his arduous life as a settler in Hokkaido and his very serious training in martial arts. So the theory of a brain/nerve injury to account for his incredible abilities seems to come out of nowhere and to bring with it no connection to anything.

That in mind, change the words "late onset" with "early onset", apply it to the times in his life when his visions occurred and reconsider the possibility. See, that's the great thing about science. You get new data, you revise and correct. Simple.

But I don't see anything in any of the data to vaguely suggest the condition you describe.

Third, while I never met Ueshiba believe it or not I have worked with the mentally ill in Japan. They have told me about their visions and yes what they have to say does sound eerily familiar to the great master's recorded experience. And you know what, that's just fine, because there should be no stigma attached to those afflicted with neurological disorders.

From the patients I've met I can tell you that their hallucinations are deeply spiritual experiences for them. This image you seem to have of people shouting wild eyed at others wondering why everyone else didn't see them(hallucinations), that's Hollywood man.

That's also your description. I said: "I don't think his experiences would fall into the category of halucinations. I think he understood that these were all personal spiritual experiences and that he did not believe these were actual things happening in the physical world around him, wondering why everyone else didn't see them." Where do you get the "shouting wild-eyed at others" image?

Morihei has never been described as a crazy man or as anyone suffering from any condition that would suggest brain or nerve damage, especially in light of his extremely high levels of ability. Speculation can be interesting if it adheres to the known facts, but the narrative you gave earlier did not.

Still, if you find some evidence, that might make an interesting report.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-27-2010, 05:20 PM
... there have been many cases in medical literature of tumors spurring excessive production of hormones in the body. Acromegaly is a nasty one. There's a profile here (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/16/AR2007071601914.html) of a once powerful acrobat who discovered that the source of her strength was a cancerous tumor. Hmmn. Wait. Ueshiba died of cancer... you don't suppose?... Nahh.

Well, you specify "once powerful." What happened to her? Usually, such things lead to rapid deterioration. Morihei Ueshiba had decades of high level physical performance and incredible visionary experiences, his health and skill all the while improving steadily. Are you suggesting that he had bladder or kidney cancer throughout the fifty or more years of his highest level performance?

I don't discount your ideas entirely, but such suggestions as that he often had bouts of sudden weakness and had to be supported by his students, only to recover just as suddenly, implying that this occurred during the height of his physical prime put you on very shaky ground.

I'd just suggest that you re-read the whole thing again with close attention and then form your ideas.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
08-27-2010, 05:25 PM
Ueshiba died of cancer... you don't suppose?... Nahh.

I've seen some reports that he died of liver cancer and I don't think I've ever heard of that causing any kind of boost of performance.

Anyway, have a great weekend.

David

Scott Burke
08-27-2010, 07:01 PM
You can test for synesthesia genetically, that is if it came about naturally. It would be great if the current Doshu would be willing to offer to allow a PCR test on his blood to put the idea to rest, but I know that ain't going to happen. The last thing I'll mention about brain trauma before letting this rest, sometime the most innocuous seeming tap can change your world.

Its funny you mention Deguchi. There's a Konkokyo shrine down the road from me, they're tangentially related to Omotokyo, I've chatted with them politely a few times. They saw me in my Aikido sweatshirt one day and started telling me about Nao Deguchi and a bunch of really complicated explanations about the positions of deities and their movements. Nice but awkward.

I told my boss about it later and she said to stay away from them because they were really weird. This is the same boss who once hired an Onmyoushi to come perform an exorcism on on the pipes behind the office because they were making a knocking sound. But I digress.

Best,
Scott

Gorgeous George
08-27-2010, 07:29 PM
I told my boss about it later and she said to stay away from them because they were really weird. This is the same boss who once hired an Onmyoushi to come perform an exorcism on on the pipes behind the office because they were making a knocking sound. But I digress.

Best,
Scott

Hahahaha. Then they must be really weird!

David Orange
08-28-2010, 08:14 AM
You can test for synesthesia genetically, that is if it came about naturally. It would be great if the current Doshu would be willing to offer to allow a PCR test on his blood to put the idea to rest, but I know that ain't going to happen.

Well, which are you looking for? If it was a brain injury, as you have suggested, that wouldn't show up. But if it's genetic, then it would probably have manifested in his parents, children or siblings.

I suppose if you were to gather some good evidence that this kind of thing ran in the Ueshiba family, the current doshu might want to have such tests done. But it seems that none of the family before or after Morihei had these experiences and it seems clear that his experiences resulted from his dedicated training in mysticism--i.e., no physical injury or mutation.

Further, the evidence is of a super level of physical and mental functioning, surpassing virtually any other human being of his day, which seems seriously to undermine any thought of injury as cause since, instead of slowly deteriorating as he aged, indeed, he became more powerful and efficient until he contracted liver cancer at almost 85 years of age.

The science I'm familiar with begins with a thorough study of the available data and only then produces a theory. To develop your theory first, then find evidence that supports it (and ignore other elements) is just bias and will not lead to true results. So it seems to me that your idea of synesthesia in Morihei Ueshiba was stillborn and does not need to be put to rest except in your own mind. But if you can't let it rest in peace, I'd suggest that you dig a lot deeper for supporting evidence before requesting tests from the family.

David

Scott Burke
08-28-2010, 08:29 AM
Speculation- conjectural consideration of a matter; conjecture or surmise: a report based on speculation rather than facts.

This is just speculation. Relax!

Mark Mueller
08-28-2010, 09:41 AM
David, Don't you think there is a little bit of contradiction in this statement?

"Second, unless you're a neurologist, I wouldn't encourage such diagnoses of a man who had one of the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known--especially without direct examination."

Best,

Mark

David Orange
08-28-2010, 09:47 AM
This is just speculation. Relax!

Well, some sorts of speculation are interesting and some are a little over the border.

As an aikido man, this kind of idea strikes me as rather insulting to Ueshiba and his family.

And as science, it strikes me as something we might expect to find in the National Enquirer--like the Batboy. Attributing such high-level mental and physical functioning to brain or nerve injury?

I guess the hash of Ueshiba's history--having to be supported by his students periodically because of sudden intermittent weakness in the prime of his life, for example (mixing up specific incidents from his old age as having happened in his prime)--set the tone to put all these ideas in ridiculous light. It just reminded me of a recent post where some guy, through very poor reading of Ueshiba's history, reached the conclusion that Ueshiba was obese! It shows utter lack of respect for the facts of the matter, and that simply invites rejection.

I'm more than willing to entertain serious thinking on the subject, but please don't expect anyone serious to accept things that defy the laws of nature.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-28-2010, 09:51 AM
David, Don't you think there is a little bit of contradiction in this statement?

"Second, unless you're a neurologist, I wouldn't encourage such diagnoses of a man who had one of the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known--especially without direct examination."

Best,

Mark

I guess so. In fact, I wouldn't expect any competent neurologist to make such a guess without direct physical examination of the subject OR extensive historical evidence as a basis.

Better?

Or if you mean my judging Ueshiba as 'a man who had one of the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known," I'd say that's pretty well established by the results he got and the opinions of him expressed by hundreds if not thousands of the most prominent exponents of the activities Ueshiba pursued.

Thanks.

David

Scott Burke
08-28-2010, 10:11 AM
Hey man, I hear you totally. The Internet is a blunt tool at best in trying to explain one's ideas. Especially with a 12 hour time lag.

My pet theory was merely that, an interesting possibility to explain the some of the more far-out sounding visions claimed by O'Sensei.

And speaking of hash, I wasn't going to harp on this, but you did mistake the date on which the Manchurian light show occurred by nearly 20 years. So perhaps you could be a little less forceful in the future when pointing out the mistakes of others. Please don't think of this as snark, just well intended advice, freely given.

Have a good weekend,
Scott

David Orange
08-28-2010, 10:35 AM
My pet theory was merely that, an interesting possibility to explain the some of the more far-out sounding visions claimed by O'Sensei.

I might have found it more interesting had it been backed up with any kind of evidence or reasoning.

And speaking of hash, I wasn't going to harp on this, but you did mistake the date on which the Manchurian light show occurred by nearly 20 years.

Which I did admit when Demetrio pointed it out.

So perhaps you could be a little less forceful in the future when pointing out the mistakes of others.

Well, you only get back what you give--as in aikido. Such careless reading as to draw the conclusion that Morihei Ueshiba was obese is bound to get some strong negative feedback. And to imagine that Ueshiba could have done all that he did while suffering brain or nerve damage is on the same level if supported by careless interpretation of the historical record.

That casts doubt not only on your understanding of Ueshiba, but also of the science you referenced and on your good will to Morihei himself.

Another thing, and very important, is that we have people on this board who can read the historical record and conclude from it that Morihei was literally obese. Next thing you know, they'll be telling other people that Morihei was an idiot savant whose skill resulted from brain damage...

We have to be careful if only for that reason.

Best to you.

David

Mark Mueller
08-28-2010, 01:21 PM
This...

"Or if you mean my judging Ueshiba as 'a man who had one of the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known," I'd say that's pretty well established by the results he got and the opinions of him expressed by hundreds if not thousands of the most prominent exponents of the activities Ueshiba pursued."

From a highly regimented society where, from my limited understanding, communication tends to the oblique, rather than direct, and with over 40 year old recollections along with the tendency of all society to mythologize certain figures...

But the paradox to me is.....according to today's standards the only one who could use a term like "the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known," would be a world class neuro- scientist.

While I follow and agree with most of your posts regarding this post I did take exception to that....

aikilouis
08-28-2010, 03:02 PM
Superlatives are the best thing ever...

David Orange
08-28-2010, 03:43 PM
This...From a highly regimented society where, from my limited understanding, communication tends to the oblique, rather than direct, and with over 40 year old recollections along with the tendency of all society to mythologize certain figures...

But the paradox to me is.....according to today's standards the only one who could use a term like "the most highly tuned and efficient mind/body organizations ever known," would be a world class neuro- scientist.

Well, scores of the most efficient fighters in Japan all agreed that Morihei Ueshiba was on a level far above their own. And martial arts are about coordination of mind and body...so I don't think it's really necessary to call in a neurologist. Ueshiba performed consistently at a level far beyond "ordinary" humans and quite above that of most very highly trained fighters. Many of the records we have are contemporary and even when the recollections hark back sixty or seventy years, the historical records show that these fantastically skilled men meekly followed Morihei because of his abilities. We're talking about men who were daunting to much larger and highly trained American soldiers after the war. Those men found Ueshiba daunting.

I think we can judge high-level performance well enough with those references, but when we want to evaluate nerve or brain damage, I'd say that we then should call on the neuro scientists.

Best to you.

David

Josh Reyer
08-28-2010, 05:27 PM
Frankly, David, I've found your rather defensive overreaction to what Scott has from the beginning stated was merely spitballin' speculation to be more insulting to people who actually have such conditions, acting like it would be a horrible, terrible thing for Ueshiba to have had one, or for people to even think that he did.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-28-2010, 06:23 PM
Ueshiba performed consistently at a level far beyond "ordinary" humans and quite above that of most very highly trained fighters. Many of the records we have are contemporary and even when the recollections hark back sixty or seventy years, the historical records show that these fantastically skilled men meekly followed Morihei because of his abilities.

But... what if Ueshiba contemporaries were not as good/skilled as we believe they were?

You surely are aware that Mochizuki Sensei found aikido (the pre-war he studied under O Sensei) lacking when accepting challenges from french wrestlers, boxers or savateurs (see video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZaNtm-5mCo) of french savateurs in 1934) and needing judo (see video of judo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Nubmy4WsI) in the 20's). Observe the skill level of both savateurs and judoka (video of boxers and wrestlers of that era are available too) and make a comparison with the skill level of todays practitioners of the same art. And yes, I know Mochizuki came to Europe after WWII.

Ueshiba was awesome by japanese standards at that time, and japanese budoka were awesome by western standards at that time.

Today's standards... well, are a bit higher.

We're talking about men who were daunting to much larger and highly trained American soldiers after the war. Those men found Ueshiba daunting

Were those men skilled?

when we want to evaluate nerve or brain damage, I'd say that we then should call on the neuro scientists.
Seconded

David Orange
08-28-2010, 07:19 PM
Frankly, David, I've found your rather defensive overreaction to what Scott has from the beginning stated was merely spitballin' speculation to be more insulting to people who actually have such conditions, acting like it would be a horrible, terrible thing for Ueshiba to have had one, or for people to even think that he did.

No, I'm more responding to the irrationality of proposing that Ueshiba's high level of performance for over a half century could have resulted from brain or nerve damage--and that without any evidence that he had that condition. Unless we want to go back to Buck's assertion that Morihei was obese...and then maybe the nerve damage resulted from his obesity...:crazy:

History and science have been more offended than people with whatever condition Scott has in mind.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-28-2010, 08:15 PM
But... what if Ueshiba contemporaries were not as good/skilled as we believe they were?

Well, they impressed the heck out of the US soldiers who arrived there after the war--and those Japanese were just the survivors. Many of the best were killed in combat. And a lot of those had been trained by Morihei Ueshiba at the Naval Academy.

You surely are aware that Mochizuki Sensei found aikido (the pre-war he studied under O Sensei) lacking when accepting challenges from french wrestlers, boxers or savateurs (see video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZaNtm-5mCo) of french savateurs in 1934) and needing judo (see video of judo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54Nubmy4WsI) in the 20's). Observe the skill level of both savateurs and judoka (video of boxers and wrestlers of that era are available too) and make a comparison with the skill level of todays practitioners of the same art. And yes, I know Mochizuki came to Europe after WWII.

Well, Mochizuki Sensei didn't say he lost to any of those folks. He just thought aikido would be improved by broadening the range of attacks against which it would be practiced. He had a lot of interesting stories about those times, but in his mind, from early on, aikido included everything up to and including artillery. And he took on any and all challengers (except the guy who was known to bring throwing knives to wrestling matches). But he never considered himself to have surpassed Morihei Ueshiba.

And while standards have risen in he decades since the war, those advances were built on the teachings and innovations of people like Ueshiba and Mochizuki. There's every reason to believe that Morihei would have kept pace, if not for the inevitable decline of years. Like Dan Harden, he was a monster for training and he didn't rest on the standards of yesteryear.

Ueshiba was awesome by japanese standards at that time, and japanese budoka were awesome by western standards at that time.

That's my point. Everyone respected the Japanese fighting man at that time and the Japanese fighting man respected Morihei Ueshiba.

Today's standards... well, are a bit higher.

Yes, but again, those standards are built on the old standards. Morihei would be about 130 years old today, so of course I'm not saying he'd be beating up on the champions of UFC or K1 if he were still alive. But there's no reason to think that, all things being equal, he wouldn't have risen to the top in today's world just as he did in history. His attributes put him at the top in a world where the stakes were not belts and trophies but literally life and death. So I think it was him plus his training that resulted in his legend among men who were legendary in their own right. And I think few people in today's world--even the top fighters--would outdo him.

Were those men (the US soldiers who came to Japan after the war--DO) skilled?

We're talking about military police, among others, who brought down the Nazis and the Japanese forces over four years of hell. Whether you would call them "skilled," I'm not sure, but many were veterans of hand-to-hand warfare and they weren't push-overs. Yet there's a famous video of Ueshiba allowing several MPs to try to take him and he disappeared from their grips with ease.

Again, many of these were the ones who brought arts like karate back to the US--because they were so impressed by the Japanese teachers. And the Japanese teachers? They were astounded by Morihei Ueshiba...

And to suggest that Morihei's abilities resulted from brain or nerve damages and hallucinations...well...it just doesn't sit well with me.

Maybe I'm wrong. I just don't think so.

Best to you.

David

Scott Burke
08-28-2010, 08:31 PM
and that without any evidence that he had that condition.

Oh for the love of... Look. Just reread the definition of speculation, again. Please. As for evidence... Fellah, it's anecdotal. Ueshiba's visions bear striking resemblance to those described by other human beings. In those cases, there is a prosaic explanation involving brain function. You're getting way to hung up on the brain injury thing. This isn't about proving a case behind a shadow of a doubt, its just food for thought. "Ueshiba saw beams of light, so have lots of people. How? Well, lets shoot the breeze a little..." That was the intent of all of this, not to present a paper at a symposium.

And just because you proclaim such ideas to be stillborn (dead baby imagery. Classy), that doesn't make it so.

You're just one guy on the Internet who has apparently taken it upon himself to act as guardian of the Ueshiba family's honor against anything you perceive to be an insult. I've tried to keep this light hearted but your brusque, casually aggressive, get the final word in at any cost attitude have have made this surprisingly unpleasant.

Parting shot. In the future, you should really look at something like this (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=synesthesia)here before declaring something completely irrational.

Blimey!
Scott

Jim Sorrentino
08-28-2010, 10:12 PM
Greetings All,

I have done a bit of training with firearms, and years ago I was a member of a list-serve for alumni of Gunsite, a firearms school in Arizona. Gunsite is one of the oldest firearms "dojo" in the US, and possibly the first to offer instruction in the tactical use of firearms to law-abiding citizens who do not happen to have military or law enforcement status.

Some years back, several people wrote to the Gunsite list-serve about their experience of seeing bullets on their way to the target. This reminded me of the many accounts of O-Sensei claiming to see bullets during various battles. While this sounds fantastic, it turns out that others have had similar perceptions. Here is what one Gunsite instructor said:

I have frequently seen pistol bullets on their way to the target...but only those fired by others, as I'm generally focused on my front sight [when I'm shooting]. This occurs primarily when the sun is coming across the range at a low angle. Jacketed bullets seem to glint more, but I've frequently seen lead bullets too.

If one can perceive the glint of flying bullets on the range, in a relatively low-stress training environment, imagine what the mind (and later, the memory) would do with such a sight if witnessed in the heat of battle.

Sincerely,

Jim

Ellis Amdur
08-28-2010, 10:38 PM
I recently had a discussion with a range master about this - and he went through a lot of guns where the bullets travel at a speed where they can be seen.
Furthermore - recently had another conversation with a police officer (long story for another time), but he shot a machete wielding man in the chest, and saw the bullet traveling through the air and the ripples of impact in the bare flesh of his chest.
Remember, though, what Ueshiba claimed is that he could see a beam of light of the "intention" of the shooter, before the bullet left the gun. He was, he claimed, reacting to the intention, which he could perceive, not the bullet.
Ellis Amdur

Michael Varin
08-28-2010, 11:24 PM
Remember, though, what Ueshiba claimed is that he could see a beam of light of the "intention" of the shooter, before the bullet left the gun. He was, he claimed, reacting to the intention, which he could perceive, not the bullet.
Yes. That's correct, and totally different from seeing the bullet, which wouldn't help you get out of the way.

By the way, I believe it was this ability, not any supposed "internal strength," that gained the respect and awe of Morihei's contemporaries and students.

David Orange
08-28-2010, 11:26 PM
Some years back, several people wrote to the Gunsite list-serve about their experience of seeing bullets on their way to the target. This reminded me of the many accounts of O-Sensei claiming to see bullets during various battles.

Wow. I never thought of this as anything but O Sensei's ability to "feel" the enemy's intent directed toward him. But he could actually have been physically seeing the bullets on their way to him.

Actually, though, while looking into Demetrio's clarification that this happened during the 1920s, I read that he "felt spiritual bullets pass through his body." Which would, again, indicate that he was feeling intent. But that recognition of intent might have been aided by seeing the actual bullet on its way!

Again, just, wow.

Thanks for that one.

David

David Orange
08-28-2010, 11:32 PM
I believe it was this ability, not any supposed "internal strength," that gained the respect and awe of Morihei's contemporaries and students.

Well, Mochizuki Sensei put no stock at all in those kinds of stories. It was Ueshiba's power in hand-to-hand fighting (and his skill with weapons) that got Mochizuki's attention. And I think most serious and experienced martial artists of the day were similar. They would have considered those stories as interesting, at best. They had attitudes like the MMA fighter who popped the venerable "ki master" in the mouth on YouTube. Put up or shut up. And what impressed them was that Morihei could always put up. That was the only thing that gave any weight to those stories at all. Without that ability, they would have just considered him a nut.

Regards.

David

David Orange
08-29-2010, 12:19 AM
Oh for the love of... Look. Just reread the definition of speculation, again. Please.

Scott, I understand speculation. I've read tons of science fiction. But one of the rules of science fiction is that you can't break fundamental laws of physics or other rational truths or you shatter the illusion of the story. It's no fun if the idea is just too far out from human experience or requires things that we know could not possibly happen.

Speculation has to at least have some basis in known fact: the idea that Morihei may have changed aikijujutsu after seeing baguazhang in China is speculation and it is "interesting" and "believable" only because it is "possible." He did travel to China and there were bagua masters in China and he did change aikijujutsu after his travels in China. And we discussed the heck out of that idea.

But with no history of any kind of injury, no family history of visions or hallucinations, etc., to speculate that Morihei achieved power through brain injury is just out there with saying he got his power from aliens who took him to planet Xenoid when he never said that he went there, no one in his family said it and he was with high government officials at the time you say it happened (for instance).

Morihei got his power from training in martial arts with the tenacious mind and strong body he developed in an arduous life. He got the visions from his arduous spiritual seeking and participation in esoteric Buddhist and Shinto practices with Deguchi and through his own research.

To "speculate" on these matters is to bring up ideas such as that he might have been influenced by baguazhang or that he did a lot of judo or had teaching certificates in this, that or another style of swordsmanship. There is at least some possibility and some historical shreds to allow conjecture. But the usual fairly rapid deterioration of someone with brain injuries flies in the face of Morihei's long-term high-level functioning and negates the believability of your idea.

I'm just saying if you want to go on with that line, just dig up any account of injury. Otherwise, it's most reasonable to accept that his visions came through great effort and dedicated seeking, on purpose and that his skill came from training.

As for evidence... Fellah, it's anecdotal.

No, Scott. "Anecdotal" is that he says he felt "spiritual bullets" pass through his body when someone was about to shoot at him. "Anecdotal" is that people say he pulled up a tree while standing on its roots.

"Anecdotal" would be if you found any kind of reference anywhere to his suffering any kind of injury that could have produced brain or nerve damage.

"Anecdotal" accounts at least provide some "reason" to think that something might have happened, or to "speculate" along those lines.

Ueshiba's visions bear striking resemblance to those described by other human beings.

Except that such people usually actually believe that those things happen in the real world around them and that other people should be able to see them, as well. And they tend to be unrelated to "real" matters going on around them. In Morihei's case, his perception of spiritual bullets speeding toward him allowed him to move when people actually were firing real bullets at him. But when he saw the world split open and golden beams of light coming out of the ground, or whatever, he didn't go up to others and say "Did you see that?" He was describing "feelings", not things that he really believed happened in the physical world. People who see such things because of brain injury or mental illness cannot usually make that distinction.

In those cases, there is a prosaic explanation involving brain function. You're getting way to hung up on the brain injury thing. This isn't about proving a case behind a shadow of a doubt, its just food for thought.

Sorry. I'm no Ph.D, myself, but for the past ten years I've been working in epidemiology and biostatistics and most of the people I deal with day to day are neurologists. I write articles for people with multiple sclerosis for an international quarterly MS publication. I spend a lot of time reading and thinking about brain lesions and nerve damage and their effects on human lives. I've just been conditioned to expect a higher level of treatment of these subjects than we've been getting here. I'm afraid your propositions struck me more like "fast food for thought" than something I'd find in the Journal of Neurology.

"Ueshiba saw beams of light, so have lots of people. How? Well, lets shoot the breeze a little..." That was the intent of all of this, not to present a paper at a symposium.

These other people who saw beams of light...did they see them in the instant before someone fired a gun at them allowing the to narrowly dodge bullets? Or did they just see beams of light? I'm thinking these experiences probably negatively impacted the lives of the people you describe, while, for Morihei, they saved his life.

And just because you proclaim such ideas to be stillborn (dead baby imagery. Classy), that doesn't make it so.

Well, until you bring some "reason" to speculate along those lines, I don't see a heartbeat there and I don't hear any signs of life.

You're just one guy on the Internet who has apparently taken it upon himself to act as guardian of the Ueshiba family's honor against anything you perceive to be an insult. I've tried to keep this light hearted but your brusque, casually aggressive, get the final word in at any cost attitude have have made this surprisingly unpleasant.

Well, I'm not just any guy on the internet. I have some pretty close associations to the deepest roots of aikido. And I have worked with a neurologist from the University of Oxford....so my thinking on those lines may be a little prejudiced as well.

Parting shot.

As in, "Getting in the last word?" I don't want the last word, necessarily, if your last word makes some sense. But you were saying...

In the future, you should really look at something like this (http://lmgtfy.com/?q=synesthesia)here before declaring something completely irrational.

I know what synesthesia is. It was frequently described as one of the big effects of LSD in the early 60s: you see sounds and hear colors, etc.

But what does that have to do with any of Morihei's visions or other experiences? He never reported anything along those lines. He saw lights and heard gunshots. Where is the "blending of senses" that would cause you even to mention the condition of synesthesia?

Really trying to see what you're saying...

David

CarlRylander
08-29-2010, 05:06 AM
They know now that birds have bits in their brains that can sense disturbances in magnetic fields, perhaps some humans can? I've seen dogs that can sense when people are behind them, and humans too.

I could see air rifle pellets moving when I was a kid. They only move slow.

As to Ueshiba's power, he may have been just stronger and faster than average. I've seen 64 year olds that can move with a flicker. Ueshiba just enhanced it.

David Orange
08-29-2010, 12:39 PM
But with no history of any kind of injury, no family history of visions or hallucinations, etc., to speculate that Morihei achieved power through brain injury is just out there with saying he got his power from aliens who took him to planet Xenoid when he never said that he went there, no one in his family said it and he was with high government officials at the time you say it happened (for instance).

Scott,

Not to be insulting. I was just referring back to the "rules" of speculative fiction. See, my early decades were spent in poetry and creative fiction, a lot of it verging into science fiction. And like Morihei, I had a fairly low level of education. And when I got excited, I got very visual. What Morihei was describing was simply ecstasy, which I'm sure I would feel too, if I had just survived unharmed in a shinken attack by a kendo master. That was a vivid experience, no doubt, and his feelings following it must have been very vivid.

He was definitely a vivid person, but I have never heard any accounts of lingering injury and certainly not brain injury. I may just be vivid in stating it.

Best to you.

David

Ellis Amdur
08-29-2010, 01:04 PM
Putting aside brain injury and mushrooms, neither of which are necessary anyway, could Ueshiba have been one of the many millions of people who experience synesthesia? Sure, why not? One of my friends just revealed to me that she was blessed with this condition - and described in detail what colors she perceived when she heard various sounds.
Frankly, this thread is getting side-tracked on the subject, so let's bring it back to center.
1. Most people who are healthy who describe synesthesia, talk about either the aesthetic wonders of the experience, how distracting it is, or in some cases, savant skills (different numbers have different colors, enabling one savant to calculate at astonishing speeds). I do not recall ever reading about synesthesia contributing to physical abilities.
2. This discussion pre-supposes that Ueshiba was out-standing, in the sense that his skills surpassed those of any and all - thereby needing a special beyond human power. Most of Ueshiba's skills were not unique to him. The one's that were beg a question - are they merely fantasies that his students - and he - told? Or did he have paranormal powers as well? So, perhaps we can break down his 'powers."
:eek: He could evade attack of even multiple individuals, and grab like a vice, and break your bones if he chose. Certainly, these are skills held by many.
:freaky: He had a high level of skill in "aiki" - :circle: :square: :triangle: (there, that was quick) - but he was not alone in this. Others equaled or surpassed him, both in Japan or elsewhere.
:mad: Some, however, questioned his skills then and now. Kunii Zen'ya of Kashima Shin-ryu publicly derided Ueshiba and aikido. On of my own teachers stated to me that Ueshiba's sword work was inept, citing the way he did Yokokiuchi (striking a bundle of sticks). "When done properly, you strike one point every time. Eventually, the sticks are broken through, but the bark, except for that one point, is untouched. Ueshiba-san just whacked away like he was doing exercise."
:ki: The magic accounts - seeing beams of light, Shioda's claim that Ueshiba had soldiers fire at him and he dodged the bullets and ended up behind them, the atemi Ueshiba allegedly did to a top judo man, crippling him forever. Interestingly, Shioda was a source of a lot of these. Another example would be Terry Dobson's account of attacking him full force and finding himself wafted up in the ionosphere, gazing down at the azure ball of the earth, and then falling through the atmosphere BOOM! - to "awake" on the tatami, with Ueshiba gazing, amused, in his eyes, or the calling up of the malevolent kami that sickens Mariye Takahashi (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108) I must say, my favorite was the time the uchi-deshi asked Ueshiba if he could teleport and he materialized at the top of the stairs and they asked him to do it again and he got mad and said that it took ten years off his life (and I can't help wondering how many years each practice rep pared away). Nonetheless, these stories are beyond aiki stories - and it's either a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire," or "smoke and mirrors."
IF such things exist, then one would be required to undertake esoteric training. Ueshiba is not the only one of whom such things have been described. I've heard of other budoka who also, allegedly, had paranormal powers. So, for those interested in such, mikkyo, shamanistic practices, lots of mushrooms - something extra is required.
However, the first two items - "aiki" included - are, by all reports, a matter of meticulous practice, good teaching and hard work.
No brain damage required.
Ellis Amdur

Alfonso
08-29-2010, 02:01 PM
jeez, next thing you're going to say that it means that unless you're after the Jedi bundle , by meticulous practice, hard work and good teaching, we should be able to reach the power and skill that Ueshiba reportedly had?

Or are you saying that if you're after the Jedi bundle, you can take a head dive off a cliff, eat a lot of mushrooms, and get some fun students with a knack for spinning yarns to help along the way?

Dan Rubin
08-29-2010, 02:16 PM
So, perhaps we can break down his 'powers."

Still dueling with the old man, eh? I can recommend someone who "offers private consultation for both psychotherapists and lay people who encounter troubling individuals." ;)

Ellis Amdur
08-29-2010, 03:07 PM
Alfondo - both.
Dan - Some people are beyond help

Actually, this thread started so simple. "Wow, here's a mundane account of an amazed martial arts professional who experienced Ueshiba functioning as an amazingly impressive martial artist."
But when Ueshiba is the subject, soon we veer off, as always, into brain damage, magic bullets, and the bestest that ever was. And the only answer does seem to be mushrooms.
We have a selection:
Owaraitake ("big laugher mushrooms")
Waraitake ("laughter mushrooms")
Shibiretake ("shivering mushrooms")
Aozometake ("blue halo mushrooms")
Maitake/odoritake ("dancing mushrooms")
And for those whose years of frustrated training, even turbocharged by fungi have not yet enabled you to teleport to the top of the stairs, see beams of bullet energy, or call down the gods, there is always a last resort: amanita pantheria. (careful - the panther is reported to have sharp claws).
Somewhere along the line, you may end up with a (productive) head injury as well.:)

Dennis Hooker
08-30-2010, 07:49 AM
Have you never faced a skilled budo man who seemed to know what you were going to do before you did it? It is discomforting and at the same time a bit joyful knowing that someday you too may achieve that skill with diligent training. Have you ever known what someone close to you was going to say before they said it or do something before they did it? Maybe these senses can be developed or perhaps some people are born with a heightened sense of intuitiveness. Of course there are always those people that think and say “if I can’t do it, it can’t be done”.
I am at a point now after 50 years of training that allows me the skill of moving a bit so that when punched at or grabbed the attacker is unbalanced and since their body follows their balance they fall. To the uninitiated eye it is purple smoke and mirrors to those in the know it is 50 years of training, learning and hard work. Does this work every time with everyone? Of course not but I can just get another 50 years it might. I am a slow learner.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-30-2010, 08:24 AM
That's my point. Everyone respected the Japanese fighting man at that time and the Japanese fighting man respected Morihei Ueshiba.
However, I think Ueshiba was a case of one eyed man in the country of the blind while there were people with 20/20 vision who lacked political connections.

He was very good by that time standards, but I don't believe him was "the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of its foot"

Yet there's a famous video of Ueshiba allowing several MPs to try to take him and he disappeared from their grips with ease.
You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM) (starting at 2:43)? Look at the PM's. Do they look skilled at hand to hand combat?

David Orange
08-30-2010, 11:50 AM
However, I think Ueshiba was a case of one eyed man in the country of the blind while there were people with 20/20 vision who lacked political connections.

I don't see what you mean. He did instruct H2H at the Imperial Naval Academy. In other words, he was respected at the highest levels of the military.

He was very good by that time standards, but I don't believe him was "the most perfect creature ever to sanctify the earth with the imprint of its foot"

Unfortunately, like us, he did not have the great good fortune to have been born Korean.

You mean this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM) (starting at 2:43)? Look at the PM's. Do they look skilled at hand to hand combat?

In my experience, some of the most incredibly skilled people were nothing to look at. I know I thought they let Murai Sensei hang around the yoseikan just because he was old and probably didn't have anything else to do.

Also, from the clip, it's not very good because it opens when the action has just passed and you can't well tell what anyone is doing. However, I can see that most of those guys are very big and if you look at them in the following scenes, they all look in good shape. But one thing we do know: their job was go out and drag in unruly US fighting men who had just recently been at war. So, though they may not look like much, they are big and they were arresting fighting men for a living.

Also, there are the written accounts by the men in that group and by others who observed. I believe one of those MPs was Robert W. Smith, who was a contemporary of Donn Draeger's...

No, I wouldn't try to say the Morihei Ueshiba was "the most perfect creature," but all around, in each direction, he stands out when compared to any other man. And I don't know of anyone who ever successfully stood against him, so I'd still have to say he was "one of the greatest."

Best to you.

David

Ellis Amdur
08-30-2010, 12:10 PM
I wish I could go into more detail - I cannot - but I am aware of one event when Ueshiba Morihei, at the height of his powers, was humbled by another martial artist. (No, I'm not talking about his first youthful encounter with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa Yukiyoshi's account of grabbing Ueshiba's arms and rendering him unable to move). For those who are curious, I will not say more, and I don't want to engender a "twenty-questions" side-track on the thread. I'm simply raising this point because I've heard very creditable evidence that puts paid to the idea that Ueshiba was an "invincible warrior."
Hagiography undermines study. There is no doubt that Ueshiba Morihei was widely respected among both military and martial arts practitioners in Japan. This idea, however, that there was a general consensus that he was the greatest martial arts practitioner of his time is simply not true. As I pointed out earlier, there were many eminent practitioners who were not that impressed.
Dan Rubin teased me that I'm still Dueling with Osensei. Absolutely right. I'm interested in who he was and what he could really do. Not the martial arts equivalent of "lives of the saints."

jonreading
08-30-2010, 12:16 PM
Putting aside brain injury and mushrooms, neither of which are necessary anyway, could Ueshiba have been one of the many millions of people who experience synesthesia? Sure, why not? One of my friends just revealed to me that she was blessed with this condition - and described in detail what colors she perceived when she heard various sounds.
Frankly, this thread is getting side-tracked on the subject, so let's bring it back to center.
1. Most people who are healthy who describe synesthesia, talk about either the aesthetic wonders of the experience, how distracting it is, or in some cases, savant skills (different numbers have different colors, enabling one savant to calculate at astonishing speeds). I do not recall ever reading about synesthesia contributing to physical abilities.
2. This discussion pre-supposes that Ueshiba was out-standing, in the sense that his skills surpassed those of any and all - thereby needing a special beyond human power. Most of Ueshiba's skills were not unique to him. The one's that were beg a question - are they merely fantasies that his students - and he - told? Or did he have paranormal powers as well? So, perhaps we can break down his 'powers."
:eek: He could evade attack of even multiple individuals, and grab like a vice, and break your bones if he chose. Certainly, these are skills held by many.
:freaky: He had a high level of skill in "aiki" - :circle: :square: :triangle: (there, that was quick) - but he was not alone in this. Others equaled or surpassed him, both in Japan or elsewhere.
:mad: Some, however, questioned his skills then and now. Kunii Zen'ya of Kashima Shin-ryu publicly derided Ueshiba and aikido. On of my own teachers stated to me that Ueshiba's sword work was inept, citing the way he did Yokokiuchi (striking a bundle of sticks). "When done properly, you strike one point every time. Eventually, the sticks are broken through, but the bark, except for that one point, is untouched. Ueshiba-san just whacked away like he was doing exercise."
:ki: The magic accounts - seeing beams of light, Shioda's claim that Ueshiba had soldiers fire at him and he dodged the bullets and ended up behind them, the atemi Ueshiba allegedly did to a top judo man, crippling him forever. Interestingly, Shioda was a source of a lot of these. Another example would be Terry Dobson's account of attacking him full force and finding himself wafted up in the ionosphere, gazing down at the azure ball of the earth, and then falling through the atmosphere BOOM! - to "awake" on the tatami, with Ueshiba gazing, amused, in his eyes, or the calling up of the malevolent kami that sickens Mariye Takahashi (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=108) I must say, my favorite was the time the uchi-deshi asked Ueshiba if he could teleport and he materialized at the top of the stairs and they asked him to do it again and he got mad and said that it took ten years off his life (and I can't help wondering how many years each practice rep pared away). Nonetheless, these stories are beyond aiki stories - and it's either a case of "where there's smoke, there's fire," or "smoke and mirrors."
IF such things exist, then one would be required to undertake esoteric training. Ueshiba is not the only one of whom such things have been described. I've heard of other budoka who also, allegedly, had paranormal powers. So, for those interested in such, mikkyo, shamanistic practices, lots of mushrooms - something extra is required.
However, the first two items - "aiki" included - are, by all reports, a matter of meticulous practice, good teaching and hard work.
No brain damage required.
Ellis Amdur

A lot of misinformation about O'Sensei comes from embellished accounts of his feats. I believe most of these accounts are fictional in some part. However, like most myths and legends, there are kernels of truth that exist in each account and it is those kernels from which we need to extract probable truths. I think Occam's Razor applies often in most of these accounts.

For example, is it more likely that Ueshiba Sensei was able to calculate with incredible precision projectile range? It would explain much more than just seeing bullets... Michael Jordan used to shoot free throws with his eyes closed. When asked why he said he could see the basket and where to shoot whether his eyes were open or not. What about hitting a baseball, tennis ball? I certainly cannot return a 120mph serve.
For example, is it more likely that Ueshiba Sensei was well-conditioned from his overly physical life. I know several farmers who are strong, lean, and well-conditioned as the result of their chores. I also know several athletes who are well-conditioned from their sports. O'Sensei was conditioned over a number of activities. It does not suprise me in the least that he was strong, fit, and athletic (wasn't there a stry about hitting a hole-in-one the only time he played golf?).

There are far too many valid reasons that both satisfy Occam's Razor and are consistent with the truth kernels that thread through several stories about O'Sensei. But, I think the [convenient] position of O'Sensei as a supreme being removes the pressure (and expectation) of aikido people to achieve a skillset in aikido that is envied by peers in other martial communities. I think in searching for truth we need to keep a neutral perspective and understand that O'Sensei did not live in the Matrix.

MM
08-30-2010, 12:34 PM
There is more than one power category when talking about Ueshiba. (I leave aside all the spiritual "myths")

1. The first is purely muscular. Ueshiba at his best before he met Takeda. The muscle power driving farming, carpentry, etc for most of the world. But, somehow, I doubt that this is the kind of power that Iwata Sensei, or Ellis for that matter, are focused.

This kind of power is mentioned by either Sagawa or some of his students. I had to give up power to get power. Sagawa could toss people like rag dolls when old but couldn't open a jar of food. Etc.

This kind of power can be used for MMA, BJJ, wrestling, and some jujutsu where muscle along with timing can replicate "hard within soft" or the radial tire analogy of rubber around steel.

2. Internal Power. No, not aiki. This is a power level generated by structure and frame and an internally built body. It is force generated from very little distance (if any). Even this can be divided into categories using "ground", "store and release", "whip", etc. Not all work the same but each can generate various levels of power depending on how well (i.e. the right training) the person has trained. This can be the power to snap bones.

3. The third ... for lack of a better term, let's call it aiki as learned from Takeda. This "power" of aiki can be generated between human bodies but not between a human and an inanimate object. It's best summed up by the Daito ryu men saying that aiki is making the other person do what you want ... but in a way that manifests softness without the requirement of timing. Power over another person in appropriately matching energy that comes out as ghosty feeling, running into a mountain that isn't moving, just being moved without a choice, etc. This is the true hard within soft, the rubber over steel, etc. all the way to completely soft and ghosty without resorting to timing.

#1 is fairly easy to accomplish, most people can attain it without tremendous effort, and it's something that a lot of martial artists have experienced. It isn't the kind of power that made Ueshiba famous.

#2 and #3, IMO, are what Takeda taught. He blended them together to create a very different martial body that most other martial artists didn't comprehend, but knew instantly in a hands-on experience that it was the "Holy Grail", if you will.

#2 alone wouldn't have done a whole lot of impressing. Yeah, someone has power, but so what? Given a good jujutsu man, or a good fighting man, try using that IP in a dynamic encounter against them. IP alone isn't going to impress 90%-100% of the time. Maybe half the time. Good jujutsu or fighting men will flow around with timing, sensitivity, and skills to negate a lot of openings to use IP, especially some of the slower IP generating methods.

#3 alone might have impressed people. Considering that the ghosty feeling and the being controlled would amount to creating a whole lot of martial openings for strikes and throws. But, that isn't the only thing we read about Ueshiba. As Ellis' article notes and as some of the students noted, Ueshiba had power in his grip. Ueshiba felt like a jolt of electricity at points in his life. He had juice and used it.

Can you separate out #2 and #3 from the aiki men? IMO, no. Not them (others, perhaps). They integrated both and used it in a "fighting" manner, with and without weapons. It was the combination of both that made other high ranking and skilled martial artists take note of them.

But, just how far did Ueshiba take those skills? Unfortunately, I don't have any answers for Ueshiba. Just all the myriad of articles about him.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-30-2010, 01:08 PM
I don't see what you mean. He did instruct H2H at the Imperial Naval Academy. In other words, he was respected at the highest levels of the military.

I mean beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.

Also, from the clip, it's not very good because it opens when the action has just passed and you can't well tell what anyone is doing.

But you have just said: "Yet there's a famous video of Ueshiba allowing several MPs to try to take him and he disappeared from their grips with ease." What happened?

However, I can see that most of those guys are very big and if you look at them in the following scenes, they all look in good shape. But one thing we do know: their job was go out and drag in unruly US fighting men who had just recently been at war. So, though they may not look like much, they are big and they were arresting fighting men for a living.
Yes, they were big but arresting untrained (in hand to hand) drunken sailors/grunts for a living doesn't make one an authority on unarmed martial arts. BTW, the war was won by brave men with guns, not by superior wrestling skills.

Also, there are the written accounts by the men in that group and by others who observed. I believe one of those MPs was Robert W. Smith,

I can't believe R.W.Smith was one of those MP's. Check your sources.

Regards.

Ellis Amdur
08-30-2010, 01:19 PM
Robert Smith (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=640) and Ueshiba

David Orange
08-30-2010, 04:59 PM
I wish I could go into more detail - I cannot - but I am aware of one event when Ueshiba Morihei, at the height of his powers, was humbled by another martial artist. (No, I'm not talking about his first youthful encounter with Takeda Sokaku, or Sagawa Yukiyoshi's account of grabbing Ueshiba's arms and rendering him unable to move). For those who are curious, I will not say more, and I don't want to engender a "twenty-questions" side-track on the thread. I'm simply raising this point because I've heard very creditable evidence that puts paid to the idea that Ueshiba was an "invincible warrior."

Ellis,

I was thinking of that story when I said that no one was known to have stood successfully against Morihei.

Still, in all those years…never to have encountered anyone who could give him pause, especially in a culture of such extreme martial values as Japan...it would seem, with a little thought, to be unlikely. Of course, Takeda must have been stronger or Morihei wouldn't have followed him. So there's one. Maybe Sagawa--go ahead and count that as two...And then there's this one other person whom I will believe bested Morihei simply on your very credible word.

So three people seem to have "gotten over" on Morihei in his many decades among Japan's toughest. That's still dang good.

Actually, Mochizuki Sensei openly said that he often gave Morihei "a hard time" in randori and Morihei supposedly said, "Minoru, I constantly have to change my techniques because of you!"

A sword with no nicks may well be a sword that was never used.

As I pointed out earlier, there were many eminent practitioners who were not that impressed.
Dan Rubin teased me that I'm still Dueling with Osensei. Absolutely right. I'm interested in who he was and what he could really do. Not the martial arts equivalent of "lives of the saints."

When I read "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail" and first encountered the idea that Jesus might well have been married and had children, it shook me up, but then I thought, in a way, that makes him far more real and still doesn't prevent his serving the functions I understood him to serve.

If Morihei had never encountered anyone anywhere near his level, that sounds like PR. And again, I've wondered (even speculated) about what would have happened had he gone up with Mifune or Toku Sampo.

Still, he was way up at the top of the mountain with only a few other men at that time in history. They were all great and all of them were far above the level that most people ever had or ever would reach.

Thanks for mentioning that.

David

David Orange
08-30-2010, 05:08 PM
(wasn't there a stry about hitting a hole-in-one the only time he played golf?).[/INDENT]

The one where the rays of golden light came out of the hole afterward?

[QUOTE=Jon Reading;263787]There are far too many valid reasons that both satisfy Occam's Razor and are consistent with the truth kernels that thread through several stories about O'Sensei. But, I think the [convenient] position of O'Sensei as a supreme being removes the pressure (and expectation) of aikido people to achieve a skillset in aikido that is envied by peers in other martial communities. I think in searching for truth we need to keep a neutral perspective and understand that O'Sensei did not live in the Matrix.

I was thinking earlier of someone's comment that the Japanese martial artists were more impressed by Ueshiba's visions and psychic abilities than his martial power, which point I protested.

I think that's true, however, of American aikidoka. To my knowledge, the earliest American aikido men were judoka and jujutsuka who were looking for a more effective martial art and they found it with Tohei (in general). No doubt they were fascinated by the other stories as well, but their primary purpose was martial.

As years went by, though, people with no martial interest at all became drawn to aikido because of the "woo woo" aspects and I think those people and the students that follow them have become (I would guess) a mass majority.

Still, Morihei Ueshiba provided something that has been an incredible source of enrichment for my life, both physically and philosophically, so I will always be grateful to him (and Sokaku Takeda and Minoru Mochizuk, et al), no matter, ultimately, that they were still humans.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-30-2010, 05:12 PM
There is more than one power category when talking about Ueshiba.

Great summary, Mark, and, I believe, entirely accurate.

Thanks.

David

David Orange
08-30-2010, 05:20 PM
But you have just said: "Yet there's a famous video of Ueshiba allowing several MPs to try to take him and he disappeared from their grips with ease." What happened?

I think there is a better or more complete version of that or similar incidents. Anyway, did you see any of the MPs get hold of him--or keep standing when they did?

Yes, they were big but arresting untrained (in hand to hand) drunken sailors/grunts for a living doesn't make one an authority on unarmed martial arts. BTW, the war was won by brave men with guns, not by superior wrestling skills.

Well, they went up against whoever they had to. And I think any soldier who had come through the war was going to be pretty tough. I also would not disdain anyone who had no formal training as being a push-over--especially not an experienced combat veteran from the US Navy, Army or Marines. I'm not saying they or the MPs were gods, but they weren't stumble bums. Any MP serving in post-war Japan must have been a handful and I doubt many of today's (American) black belts would find them easy to handle.

I can't believe R.W.Smith was one of those MP's. Check your sources.

That's from memory of things I've read. I think I did say, "I believe Robert Smith was among them" (approximately). But, actually, I think he was. In fact, I'm thinking he was the guy Ueshiba threw once with shiho nage. I don't know.

Best wishes.

David

David Orange
08-30-2010, 05:27 PM
Robert Smith (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=640) and Ueshiba

So I guess he was not among the MPs in that video.

Do you know if he was an MP at all? I believe I read that he had some connection to CIA at some point...just recalling things I may have read.

David

Howard Prior
08-30-2010, 06:41 PM
Do you know if he was an MP at all? I believe I read that he had some connection to CIA at some point...just recalling things I may have read.

David

I believe that Mr. Smith writes a good bit about his history in Martial Musings.

Howard

David Orange
08-30-2010, 06:57 PM
I believe that Mr. Smith writes a good bit about his history in Martial Musings.

Never read that. Maybe I've seen excerpts. Is he also the one who wrote as "Gilbey," all these ridiculous farcical adventures in martial arts?

As for the film clips of the MPs, I've only seen bits of that and most of what I'm familiar with came from people's writing about the event and about the film clips. And as to that, Mifune taught judo for the Air Force after the war, so he could probably have done a similar thing with the MPs. I just know it's way beyond what anyone I currently know could do. Except maybe Dan Harden or Mike Sigman. Or someone who is like 6'5" or something....:(

David

Demetrio Cereijo
08-30-2010, 07:13 PM
I think there is a better or more complete version of that or similar incidents.
Maybe. Can you reference it?. Something with more substance than "I think"?. Let us check your data.

Anyway, did you see any of the MPs get hold of him--or keep standing when they did?
- Ueshiba is outside the circle of attackers when the movie starts. The group of MP's has been obstructed by Ueshiba students.

- Demo of slow paced shihonage with compliant MP who clearly lacks even basic judo landing skills. Look at his left arm.

- Demo of kokyu-ho/nage. MP has no posture even before Ueshiba starts, founder's deshi clashes with MP and he falls like a sack of potatoes.

Well, they (the MP's) went up against whoever they had to. And I think any soldier who had come through the war was going to be pretty tough. I also would not disdain anyone who had no formal training as being a push-over--especially not an experienced combat veteran from the US Navy, Army or Marines. I'm not saying they or the MPs were gods, but they weren't stumble bums. Any MP serving in post-war Japan must have been a handful
It seems those hardened MP's weren't invited to that demo.

and I doubt many of today's (American) black belts would find them easy to handle.
Surely, but we're not talking about the Mcdojoization of martial arts in the USA

That's from memory of things I've read. I think I did say, "I believe Robert Smith was among them" (approximately). But, actually, I think he was. In fact, I'm thinking he was the guy Ueshiba threw once with shiho nage. I don't know.
This is what you wrote:

Also, there are the written accounts by the men in that group and by others who observed. I believe one of those MPs was Robert W. Smith, who was a contemporary of Donn Draeger's...

The probablility of Smith being one of those men is very, very, very remote. I suggested to you to check your sources, but Ellis did it for you.

It seems to me you're reaching conclusions about Ueshiba's power based in mixed and unnacurate memories of things you've read or watched some time ago filtered by your mental frames. Don't worry, I do the same.

Anyway, who were the skilled budoka Ueshiba defeated in hand to hand combat? Names? Places? Circunstances?

Was Ueshiba respected by his peers or we have a case of tatemae at its best?

David Orange
08-30-2010, 08:18 PM
Maybe. Can you reference it?. Something with more substance than "I think"?. Let us check your data.

Nope. That's it. As I said elsewhere, I've read purported eyewitness accounts and people's descriptions of the video. There are many such videos of Ueshiba escaping mass attacks of that sort. But we did see him demonstrating on individuals. And think of Shioda's handling of Robert Kennedy's bodyguard--a huge guy, as well. I'm thinking Ueshiba could do pretty much anything his student, Shioda, could.

- Ueshiba is outside the circle of attackers when the movie starts. The group of MP's has been obstructed by Ueshiba students.

Yes. That's not a great clip. Notice that I didn't post it. I don't know if there are others. But it does show Ueshiba on a rooftop surrounded by US MPs. So can you give me reason to doubt the descriptions that he easily evaded them?

- Demo of slow paced shihonage with compliant MP who clearly lacks even basic judo landing skills. Look at his left arm.

Well, even people with advanced judo degrees tended to have a bad ride from folks like Takeda, Sagawa and Ueshiba. I don't think he was trying to kill them.

Second, remember what he said when he was asked to demonstrate for the Emperor? The real technique kills the attacker with a single blow. Every demonstration he ever did was therefore "a lie".

It seems those hardened MP's weren't invited to that demo.

Again, you can't guess how able those men were. It was quite common for highly trained men to look awkward around Ueshiba. Very common.

Surely, but we're not talking about the Mcdojoization of martial arts in the USA

Well, Demetrio, I was being polite. What I really meant was "Western" black belts--and I don't mean cowboys, but those outside Japan. Even if a combat vet didn't have hundreds of hours of hand-to-hand training, every minute of it was aimed at total domination (usually by death) of the opponent. Whereas with all gendai budo there is a certain amount of "play" involved (thus the terms "aikido player" and "judo player"), whatever training those MPs had included no element of play. Moreover, they learned some really sneaky and dirty material. And you might never guess their ability just to look at them.

The probablility of Smith being one of those men is very, very, very remote. I suggested to you to check your sources, but Ellis did it for you.

Well, is that a game changer for you? What if it was or wasn't Smith? In the link Ellis posted, they tell Smith he would not be able to take the ukemi for O Sensei's throw--and he was a highly experienced judo man...

It seems to me you're reaching conclusions about Ueshiba's power based in mixed and unnacurate memories of things you've read or watched some time ago filtered by your mental frames.

Not at all, Demetrio. I reached my conclusions about Ueshiba's power by training with his direct students, feeling their irresistible power and knowing that they were his students and had never reached his level. I remember how they talked about him, as if he were as far above them as they were above me. They had real ability and Ueshiba was far beyond them.

All I'm doing here is casually commenting on various trivia of film clips and demos, none of which has great weight in and of itself.

Of course, if I were going to make scientific claims about any of it, I would go to more trouble to document exact statements and cite exact sources, none of which is necessary in making casual, conversational, non-scientific comments.

Anyway, who were the skilled budoka Ueshiba defeated in hand to hand combat? Names? Places? Circunstances?

I don't believe he is recorded to have had any actual fights to the death with anyone. But he did teach hand-to-hand combat at the Imperial Naval Academy and to police throughout Japan. And there are some events recorded where people challenged him and went away humbled. Do you think Tenryu's opinion is meaningless? Ueshiba also accepted a challenge and ended one man's career because he simply let him go when he threw him, instead of holding on and controlling the man's fall. And they say he felt really bad about that, so he quit doing that kind of thing.

Was Ueshiba respected by his peers or we have a case of tatemae at its best?

Let's see…Sokaku "loved him best" of all his students. Tenryu was humbled when he simply grabbed Ueshiba's arm. He taught experienced military men at the Naval Academy...

But I guess you're right. All those people really knew they could beat him at any time. They just let him hang around because he was old and had nowhere else to go.

Err....make that "old and brain damaged and had nowhere else to go."

David

Demetrio Cereijo
08-30-2010, 08:42 PM
David, I'm not going to adress your last post because I feel you are not going to change your mind nor you change mine, but

Of course, if I were going to make scientific claims about any of it, I would go to more trouble to document exact statements and cite exact sources, none of which is necessary in making casual, conversational, non-scientific comments.

When you consider appropiate to switch from casual to scientific mode (or at least proper historical methodology) regarding this subject (Ueshiba's power), let me know.

Until then I'm done with your approach to the issue at hand. I have better and more productive things to read than hearsays and unsupported statements.

Regards.

David Orange
08-30-2010, 09:14 PM
I have better and more productive things to read than hearsays and unsupported statements.

Well, when you tell me who the guys were who bested Morihei or who thought he was a slouch, I'll be glad to hear that, too. Until then, all I've heard from you is hearsay and unsupported statements.

Just remember that Tadashi Abe thought he could beat Ueshiba Sensei with one punch, and what Mochizuki Sensei told him.

David

Howard Prior
08-30-2010, 09:14 PM
Is he also the one who wrote as "Gilbey," all these ridiculous farcical adventures in martial arts?

Not beyond the realm of possibility.:straightf

Howard

David Orange
08-30-2010, 09:16 PM
Not beyond the realm of possibility.:straightf

Yeah, I looked it up: John F. Gilbey. Some really wacky stuff.

Thanks.

David

Demetrio Cereijo
08-30-2010, 09:33 PM
Well, when you tell me who the guys were who bested Morihei or who thought he was a slouch, I'll be glad to hear that, too.
Ask Ellis. As I told you before, I'm out.

Until then, all I've heard from you is hearsay and unsupported statements.
Quid pro quo.

Just remember that Tadashi Abe thought he could beat Ueshiba Sensei with one punch, and what Mochizuki Sensei told him.
If Mochizuki sensei remembrances were correct after 40 years of the event, he downed Abe (a young aikido newbie at that time) with a kick. Big deal, a judo/karate/aikijujutsu expert beating an untrained kid.

David Orange
08-30-2010, 09:40 PM
Ask Ellis.

If you know, then you should say. Otherwise...that's just hearsay.

If Mochizuki sensei remembrances were correct after 40 years of the event, he downed Abe (a young aikido newbie at that time) with a kick. Big deal, a judo/karate/aikijujutsu expert beating an untrained kid.

Yeah, but the point is, Abe was certain that Ueshiba didn't have the goods. And what kind of expert could Mochizuki have been since he learned from Ueshiba, who was not a respected teacher, by your accounts.

As yet, you've never given any real examples of anyone who could beat Morihei. You've just contradicted all my statements and mere contradiction is not an argument.

But don't let me keep you. I know you have better things to do.

Best to you.

David

David Orange
08-30-2010, 10:06 PM
I wish I could go into more detail - I cannot - but I am aware of one event when Ueshiba Morihei, at the height of his powers, was humbled by another martial artist.

Not trying to tease an identity out of you, but I do have one question: "Was it just a better martial artist or a better martial art?"

Did some koryu guy beat Ueshiba's daito ryu with deeper, more martial principles, or did someone simply catch Ueshiba out as a better fighter at that particular moment? Was it real superiority or a fluke? (okay, that's really more than one question, but we're not being scientific here, are we? I'm not going for twenty questions or to figure out a name.)

After all, Sagawa said that he was able to stop Sokaku Takeda's aiki age once and he apparently said that he once did the same to Ueshiba once. So was it the man or the art (or both) that failed in this incident?

Thanks.

David

Michael Varin
08-31-2010, 02:47 AM
I just know it's way beyond what anyone I currently know could do. Except maybe Dan Harden or Mike Sigman. Or someone who is like 6'5" or something....

Are we still talking about the clip that was posted earlier (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79PMWGtl0qM)?

A shiho nage on a beginner and kokyu ho with two ukes? I've done those things countless times, and I certainly don't have any special power.

Again, you can't guess how able those men were. It was quite common for highly trained men to look awkward around Ueshiba. Very common.

But Morihei's students don't look awkward? It looks like typical aikido ukemi. You do realize that what you are seeing in that clip is cooperative practice. Look at how much better Morihei looks with his own students, while the awkward beginner is actually "harder" to throw. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

But it does show Ueshiba on a rooftop surrounded by US MPs. So can you give me reason to doubt the descriptions that he easily evaded them?

As for the move as the clip starts, that was undoubtedly the one Morihei liked to do where the uke encircle him then attack simultaneously and he enters behind one of them ending on the outside of the circle. What's interesting is that one of those MPs had good instincts and actually followed Morihei and ended behind him!

Guess that's at least four losses. No one's perfect…

David Orange
08-31-2010, 07:17 AM
A shiho nage on a beginner and kokyu ho with two ukes? I've done those things countless times, and I certainly don't have any special power.

Fantastic, Michael. Good on you!

Of course, as I said earlier, every demo Ueshiba ever did in public was "a lie" because the truth would have killed his "attackers".

What's interesting is that one of those MPs had good instincts and actually followed Morihei and ended behind him!

Well, that's clearly a mistake because we've been told that all those "MPs" were beginners and klutzes with no skill.

Actually, are you sure that's an MP that gets behind him and puts two hands on his shoulders?

But…I have a friend who was an active MP a few years ago. Do you think you could show us any of those techniques--shiho nage or kokyu ho--on him, just the one?

Thanks.

David

jxa127
08-31-2010, 07:20 AM
:mad: Some, however, questioned his skills then and now. Kunii Zen'ya of Kashima Shin-ryu publicly derided Ueshiba and aikido. On of my own teachers stated to me that Ueshiba's sword work was inept, citing the way he did Yokokiuchi (striking a bundle of sticks). "When done properly, you strike one point every time. Eventually, the sticks are broken through, but the bark, except for that one point, is untouched. Ueshiba-san just whacked away like he was doing exercise."

Hey, that's pretty cool! I've got the inept sword work down pat. Maybe I'm just like O'Sensei. :D

David Orange
08-31-2010, 07:52 AM
Hey, that's pretty cool! I've got the inept sword work down pat. Maybe I'm just like O'Sensei. :D

OK. Now just say it like this: "the inept sword work down pat have I."

Perfect!

David

Budd
08-31-2010, 08:57 AM
There is more than one power category when talking about Ueshiba. (I leave aside all the spiritual "myths")

1. The first is purely muscular. 2. Internal Power. 3. The third ... for lack of a better term, let's call it aiki as learned from Takeda..

Mark, I get why you're breaking out your list this way . . but I think from the standpoint of "how's it work?" it might be useful to take it back up to an even higher level . .in terms of 1 . . you need muscle development to support efforts 2 and 3. In case of 2 you need a specific kind of connected muscle development and then in the case of 3 you need a coordinated and trained application of the structure and connections working together in as close to an automated fashion as possible.

I think it's the overlap between the conditioning and coordination of 2-3 that's something of the telling reagarding approaches to "this stuff"

Takeda may have had an approach that he shared with Ueshiba, Sagawa, etal .. etc. Individually, they may have then pursued the same or similar approach - or they may have each gone in slightly different directions based on building on the same foundation, but through acquired and discovered knowledge accounting for later differences (heck, you could probably say that Aikido as Ueshiba's expression is a result of that - without going down the path of how it's been transmitted).

David Orange
08-31-2010, 09:14 AM
...you could probably say that Aikido as Ueshiba's expression is a result of that - without going down the path of how it's been transmitted...

Budd, I agree with your analysis of the overlapping nature of the levels Mark described.

About Ueshiba's expression of aikido, I believe that it finally was his effort to do with aiki-jujutsu what Jigoro Kano had done with judo. He took out the competitiveness and the most dangerous techniques to create something that could be safely practiced by almost anyone to build ability and power. And he did this after meeting Kano and after long association with two of Kano's top students--Tomiki and Mochizuki. And then he added the black belt system that Kano created.

All this would allow him to put thousands of people to work in the kind of energy-stirring he wanted to support him in his (entirely different) job of shaman and bridge between Heaven and Earth. So his aikido was his alone (according to Mochizuki: "Nobody does Ueshiba's aikido.") but he gave "another" aikido to the world.

Best to you.

David

Michael Hackett
08-31-2010, 09:36 AM
In 1953 it is hardly likely that the MPs were hardened combat veterans. The vast majority of veterans were discharged from service during 1945 and 1946, leaving only a cadre of experienced officers and non-commissioned officers to lead a very small military of rather inexperienced enlisted folks. For the most part US Army troops of the post-war period were actually poorly trained and poorly equipped, as evidenced by the severe drubbing they took at the start of the Korean Conflict. Clearly I don't know the biography of the individuals shown in the film clip, but I doubt that they were hardened combat vets with extensive self-defense training and experience.

On another note, most MPs of the time served in roles as gate guards and internal security on military posts, with only a relatively few serving in a "police patrol" function. And while servicemen did, and still do, sometimes get out of line, they still have a sense of military discipline about them and usually yield to military authority.

They all appear to be big, healthy young men, but not a great challenge to an experienced martial artist with years of practice and experience.

Demetrio Cereijo
08-31-2010, 09:48 AM
The greatest evidence to me of his power and skill has always been the respect of powerful budoka who were his peers.

Ellis, do you know how many of Ueshiba peers stopped what they were training and joined the kobukan?

Ecosamurai
08-31-2010, 09:50 AM
In 1953 it is hardly likely that the MPs were hardened combat veterans.

To bring this thread back to the original post quite nicely, I believe Iwata Sensei was an MP in the Japanese army and this was how he encountered Ueshiba Sensei.

dps
08-31-2010, 09:50 AM
This is from the thread "Baseline skillset post #1634, http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=207173&highlight=frames#post207173

Phil Davison over at the Aikido Journal forum made an interesting observation the other day about watching the 1935 Asahi film at what may be closer to the actual speed it was originally filmed at, and how that may change the conclusions a viewer would draw:

http://www.aikidojournal.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=11895

Apart from martial arts, I'm a video editor by trade.

I've been watching the 1935 film from the Asahi News dojo, and I thought I noticed something wrong. The motion is wrong. They have the jerky motion that you can see in incorrectly transferred silent film.

The professional film standard is 24 frames per second (fps), however you can get acceptable motion at lower speeds. If you shoot at 18 frames per second the result looks OK, although not quite as smooth, and you use less film. Film is expensive. There is no way of knowing what speed an old film was shot at since many cameras were adjustable.

If the 1935 film was shot at 18 fps and then transferred to video at 24 fps this equates to a 33% speed increase, that's a little faster than the way Jackie Chan movies are shot.

So to test this I took the DVD apart and changed the speed to 75% (which is how the math works out) and discovered to my surprise a whole new look on the material.

I am sure the speed is correct when slowed to 75% because when viewed slower the fast movements are still very fast, and the flow of all the movements is much more natural. When seen faster everyone's footwork is almost superhumanly fast, most notably between the techniques as they are getting into position. If you watch the flapping of the hakama they look more natural at 75%.

This will require further study, but here are a few observations -

Ueshiba Sensei's kiai is audible. In two of the multiple grab techniques (e.g. the last technique in the film) on the 24fps video there is a sound like someone trod on a cat's tail. When the speed is lowered the pitch of the audio drops a little as well. The squeak becomes a rather frightening kiai.

The energy level exhibited by Ueshiba ramps up gradually during the film. The opening suwariwaza looks rather casual, the closing section looks much more energetic. Ueshiba looks like he is taking the injunction from the book Budo "Fill your body with ki" seriously.

The overall feel is quite different. The energy does not look nearly so electric. At first I was quite disappointed, but having watched it at the corrected speed I'm starting to revise my opinion. The energy exhibited is different, not necessarily worse. It's very interesting when viewed alongside Ellis Amdur's 'Hidden in pain sight' blogs.

What was the camera speed ( frames per second ) of cameras in the early fifties?

David

Ecosamurai
08-31-2010, 09:55 AM
Mike,

Can you comment on what you feel is different between internal power to soft ghostlike technique? Do you see this as being any different than the "wrestling an empty jacket" comments told about the old time judo guys?

I got the impression from being uke for Maruyama Sensei (I should add for clarity that this has happened to me only twice so far so make of that what you will) that it was very much like wrestling the empty jacket, but with the distinct impression that should he wish to he could fill the jacket with something rather substantial. In other words a ghost of a large rock not the ghost of a man. Don't have time to elaborate any further sadly.

jonreading
08-31-2010, 10:36 AM
O'Sensei made plain that the aikido he learned was not how he wanted his students to learn. He altered his techniques and teaching methods to allow students to learn aikido without the prerequisite education he experienced.

While O'Sensei was given a teaching certificate in Daito Ryu, I do not believe he was lauded for significant experience in other Japanese martial arts, although he did train in several other arts prior to consolidating his aiki budo into aikido. I believe from this experience he extracted several key elements of combat strategy and physical interaction:

1. O'Sensei stressed the concept of initial victory and the importance of instantly dominating your partner. In Shioda Sensei's biography, he quotes O'Sensei as saying, "In aikido winners and losers are decided in a flash.” It is indeed so. Unless you overcome your opponent with a single blow, you cannot call your art a 'budo.'" O'Sensei used words like domination and victory in many of his writings and his early students also demonstrate a similar perspective.
2. O'Sensei developed a precise series of techniques that use mechanical advantage and stress physical weakness. Aikido techniques themselves are not unique to martial arts, but rather are almost copied from other arts, but embellished or altered in small manner.
3. O'Sensei recognized that people responded to specific stimulus in a manner advantageous to manipulation. Further, he noticed different responses between people with body awareness and those without (read fighting experience here).

It seems [at least these, if not others] these principles are prevalent in aikido and also consistent with instruction received from O'Sensei and disseminated by his students.

Two elements not on this list are the development of aiki and a working (if not competent) knowledge of basic fighting. Ironically, I do not believe these points are "taught" in aikido class. That is not to say individual instructors do not provide this education, but it is to say that these elements do not exist in mainstream aikido. In fact, I recall a recent interview with Gleason Sensei who advocated that we do not teach aiki in aikido.

It is these two points that I think separate our aikido from what O'Sensei practiced. I think these two elements above others would be the starting point to evaluate what made O'Sensei better. It is in this vein I read my aikido materials.

We have all seen enough media to know that rarely is it 100% reflective of the actual subject. We also do not have the luxury of cross-referencing much of the material against its sources, many of whom are deceased. That will make for a tough empirical argument...

jxa127
08-31-2010, 10:42 AM
Robert Smith (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=640) and Ueshiba

Egads! This is enlightening, and I'm surprised I hadn't seen it until now, especially considering that it was written so long ago (1988 -- though its content stretches back much further).

This part is especially interesting:


And it’s a crying shame. I wrote about my aikido practice in Tokyo in the September 1961 issue of the Budokwai quarterly Judo: “The teaching is based on the deductive principle watch and do! It was arduous but fun… . My earlier evaluation that there is still a lot of unfunctional material in aikido still holds. There are too many wide circles, multiple moves, and derring-do dance steps...."


This is important in the larger context of what O'Sensei did, how/if he transmitted the art, and how Ueshiba K. changed things.

The discussions about Ueshiba M.'s power often devolve into very broad statements: "O'Sensei was powerful and his technique was amazing." and then "His son watered down the art and made it more flowery, softer, and gave it bigger movements -- thereby making it more attractive to a wider audience but also less effective."

All of that may be true. It could be that O'Sensei's real stuff happened prior to WWII, after which his son took over and "the old man" just floated around giving inscrutable talks and doing neat demonstrations whenever he dropped in on a class.

The result is a dichotomy: you can either have large flowing technique (which, incidentally, relies on some help from uke) or powerful technique, but not both.

Yet O'Sensei seems to have been both powerful and to have had large flowing techniques (that, incidentally, relied on some help from uke).

In short, it's possible that to develop power like O'Sensei, we need, among a lot of other things, some collusion from our partners to really learn how to do things.

Yet, historically, the collusion seems to have had the opposite effect on students of aikido. The article linked above says as much in a quote from a friend of the author from 1996.

So how did we end up with, simultaneously, O'Sensei and Tohei seemingly having great skill/power/aiki and a legacy of a training methodology in aikido that seems to undermine that skill/power?

Dennis Hooker
08-31-2010, 10:58 AM
We have a very strong judo club at the Shindai Dojo as well as kendo and karate and iaijutsu and once a year we have a dojo day and all the teachers teach a class and then invite everyone to try it. It is a great learning experience. I get the same response every year WOW that really works! I would think the other teachers get it as well. Strong judo players and teachers (American, Spanish, French and Japanese) we all get to touch one another and many stereotypes are broken and when they see how and why it works they get a new appreciation for what once looked bogus to them. The thing is all of my Aikido teachers at the Shindai dojo (Shodan to Godan) have nothing to prove and are not interested in challenges however everyone is welcome in class.

Lee Salzman
08-31-2010, 11:16 AM
Two elements not on this list are the development of aiki and a working (if not competent) knowledge of basic fighting. Ironically, I do not believe these points are "taught" in aikido class. That is not to say individual instructors do not provide this education, but it is to say that these elements do not exist in mainstream aikido. In fact, I recall a recent interview with Gleason Sensei who advocated that we do not teach aiki in aikido.

Funnily enough, Gleason Sensei seems to be actually teaching aiki here at a public seminar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOs_Gnigupo

Also relevant, interview with Gleason Sensei: http://shobuaikido.ning.com/profiles/blogs/interview-with-william-gleason

Demetrio Cereijo
08-31-2010, 12:21 PM
To bring this thread back to the original post quite nicely, I believe Iwata Sensei was an MP in the Japanese army and this was how he encountered Ueshiba Sensei.
I think Iwata Sensei was an Military Police Academy instructor at that time.

I entered a former junior high school in 1927, and started learning kendo. I got my 3rd dan in August 1933, and I taught kendo as an assistant teacher for 4 months at the junior high school. In December 1933 I joined the army in Manchuria. I became a military policeman in 1935, and started to educate military policemen in April 1936. I kept teaching until August 1945. Since Japan was the defeated nation of the Pacific War, I became a prisoner in Russia in 1945. I only came back to Japan in December 1949.

I met Ueshiba Sensei at Military Police school, where he was giving lessons. I was there for two months just before the war broke. The training was meant to be for a year but war broke out after two months and it stopped. Ueshiba Sensei was a very special person. No one could reach him, he moved so well and his spirit was so strong. Even when ten people tried to attack him at the same time they were not able to catch him. But when he caught hold of your hand you had to move where he wanted you to move or your arm would break.

Ueshiba Morihei, an aiki-jutsu teacher left me the strongest Yoin of his carriage. He coached me directly at the military police school at Nakani in Tokyo in 1942

Michael Hackett
08-31-2010, 12:45 PM
I was writing about the American MPs. The vast majority of combat hardened American MPs were back home, trying to live their peacetime dreams by 1953. I am merely suggesting that those young men on the rooftop (without knowing for a fact)were probably on their first enlistment and didn't have combat experience or extensive training. They were big, strapping kids, in apparent good health and fitness, but still wouldn't have presented a great challenge to O Sensei. Simply put, that he was able to handle them so easily is testimony to his years of training and experience. Whether that transcended what others could have done in the same situation I will leave to Ellis, Marc, David and others.

Jim Sorrentino
08-31-2010, 02:04 PM
What was the camera speed ( frames per second ) of cameras in the early fifties?David

David,

Phil Davison expanded his forum post into an excellent article on this subject at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704. What is the relationship between Ueshiba Morihei's power (as Ellis has described it) and the ability he displays in the 1935 Asahi News film?

Jim

Erick Mead
08-31-2010, 05:13 PM
David,

Phil Davison expanded his forum post into an excellent article on this subject at http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704. What is the relationship between Ueshiba Morihei's power (as Ellis has described it) and the ability he displays in the 1935 Asahi News film?

It says to me in light of the analysis of the whole film in the link provided, that he was very critically observant, self-critical, and translated his observations into critical performance. I find that useful in light of Jon's points:
Two elements not on this list are the development of aiki and a working (if not competent) knowledge of basic fighting. Ironically, I do not believe these points are "taught" in aikido class. That is not to say individual instructors do not provide this education, but it is to say that these elements do not exist in mainstream aikido. The lack, I find, on both points, is that both training in competent fighting and of aiki as a standalone endeavor -- devolves into coup counting on the one hand and the physical training equivalent of "conspiracy theories" on the other hand in which there is deep intolerance to those not "in the know" -- (bordering, IMO, on near-fetish). Neither attitude (coup-counting or power-seeking) is conducive to actually watching and feeling what is going on, grasping its significance, and adapting it systemically into one's own actions -- which is where Morihei Ueshiba's power truly lay. No one can actually teach that to any one.

This view is consistent with the intentional culling of the training to emphasize these observational, contemplative aspects (in the physical sense) of aikido training -- in preference to those that demonstrate mere displays of power, competitive skill in a system of fixed rules, or forms, or ability to manipulate the opponent as a sideshow exercise.

Whether this is more or less efficient than some methods or approaches being advanced currently is -- frankly -- beside the point.

My http://www.thedailyscrapper.com/forum/images/tds/smilies/smiley_emoticons_my2cents.gif

Ellis Amdur
08-31-2010, 06:39 PM
Demetrio asked:
Ellis, do you know how many of Ueshiba peers stopped what they were training and joined the kobukan?

(BTW - how do you get the person's name in the quote, like everyone else does?)

Anyway Demetrio, you've got the same sources I do. Just go to Aikido Journal and start reading. But honestly, that wasn't my point. For a minor example, I could give you a number of names of high ranking budoka who hold me in some respect. Some have even mentioned me in interviews and the like. None of them have decided to quit what they are doing and become my "disciple."

I hold certain people in respect. I'm not inclined to study with any of them.

It is a different metric (quite telling, sure) when a teacher literally abandons what they are already doing, particularly in a Taisho/early Showa context and becomes the disciple of another teacher. It happens. Heck, one of the most remarkable stories was the teacher of Henmi (can't remember other name), the developer of Kogen Itto-ryu, after Henmi's musha-shugyo decided that Henmi was better than him, and he became his own student's disciple! Now there's some admirable humility.

Best
Ellis Amdur

Gorgeous George
08-31-2010, 06:53 PM
Demetrio asked:

(BTW - how do you get the person's name in the quote, like everyone else does?)

Just click on the 'Quote' icon at the bottom right of their post; or you can click the quote button above the thing where you post your reply (like i'm doing now); when it gives you the 'Quote' and '/Quote' in parentheses, you amend the first one to read '[Quote=person's name]'.

If that makes sense...

dps
08-31-2010, 11:57 PM
I did a quick search for frame rates on movie cameras of the 1940's and 1950's. Most of the cameras I found had adjustable frame rates ranging from 16 frames per second to 64 frames per second in stepped intervals.

Phil Davison's comment,

(http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=704)

"Perhaps the first thing that one notices when watching the film at the corrected speed is that Ueshiba's technique is not as electric as when viewed artificially speeded up.".

If you take into account how many times the original film been copied, digitalized, compressed and converted to be viewed from YouTube you will realize that what you see is not a true representation of what was filmed.

David

Michael Hackett
09-01-2010, 12:28 AM
David,
Can you explain your last paragraph? I understand the frame rate issue, but how does copying and so forth alter the movement of the images? To a non-technical guy, it would seem that the quality of the film and images would be degraded in terms of clarity, but not in content. I think what I'm asking is, if the film is viewed at the correct rate, wouldn't that be an accurate depiction, even though the individual frames might be lighter or something? I'm not arguing, just ignorant of the technical aspects of filming.

dps
09-01-2010, 02:06 AM
David,
Can you explain your last paragraph? I understand the frame rate issue, but how does copying and so forth alter the movement of the images? To a non-technical guy, it would seem that the quality of the film and images would be degraded in terms of clarity, but not in content. I think what I'm asking is, if the film is viewed at the correct rate, wouldn't that be an accurate depiction, even though the individual frames might be lighter or something? I'm not arguing, just ignorant of the technical aspects of filming.

My experience in this area is limited.

It is my understanding that copying, converting and compressing video not only degrades viewing quality but you can also loose data that could cause how fast the video is played back and possible lost of frames.

As far as YouTube, it has something to do with data rates when the video is posted onto YouTube. YouTube converts everything to Flash Video format (flv) that can use different data rates for when viewed.

I have noticed that when I download a video from YouTube and convert it to a different format other than flv, that the converted video sometimes is a different speed than the flv video.

If someone knows more about this then I do please correct me.

David

Michael Hackett
09-01-2010, 11:35 AM
David,
Thank you.

dps
09-01-2010, 11:44 AM
David,
Thank you.

Your Welcome
David

Dennis Hooker
09-01-2010, 12:30 PM
I could give you a number of names of high ranking budoka who hold me in some respect. Some have even mentioned me in interviews and the like. None of them have decided to quit what they are doing and become my "disciple."

Who in their right mind plays with a crazy guy that has a spiked ball on the end of a chane. Of course people don't want to play with you :)

James Wyatt
09-01-2010, 02:54 PM
Power flows from the truth and O'Sensei's power comes from his understanding and mastery of the underlying principles.

My sensei studied under O'Sensei for just under seven years and he said the attacks had to be fully committed and he likened receiving the techniques to "electric". Prior to enrolling at the Hombu dojo he was a well seasoned and hardened judo man and would not have studied unless he truly believed it was effective (he also studied at the Kodokan and partnered Donn Dreager as his uke).

Whilst we cannot experience O'Sensei's technique directly, the very fact the greats of other arts held him in enormous respect and sent their students suggests the respect was well deserved.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-01-2010, 06:04 PM
Anyway Demetrio, you've got the same sources I do. Just go to Aikido Journal and start reading.
Never heard about that place, sorry.

But honestly, that wasn't my point. For a minor example, I could give you a number of names of high ranking budoka who hold me in some respect. Some have even mentioned me in interviews and the like. None of them have decided to quit what they are doing and become my "disciple."
Did you offered them a cup of tea?

Anyway Ellis, like you probably know, context is everything (http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/157/12/2073).

Dan Rubin
09-01-2010, 07:44 PM
I am aware of one event when Ueshiba Morihei, at the height of his powers, was humbled by another martial artist.

I wonder what that martial artist's students thought of him (or her). Did they describe their teacher's abilities with the same fervor as O Sensei's students did (and continue to do)? If not, would that indicate something different about O Sensei's students? Was O Sensei's charisma--his stage presence--as much personal as martial?

Ellis Amdur
09-01-2010, 10:06 PM
Who in their right mind plays with a crazy guy that has a spiked ball on the end of a chane. Of course people don't want to play with you :)

So I'm thinking how to argue with that. Crazy? check Chain check Well, the ball isn't spiked . . . :straightf

Dennis Hooker
09-02-2010, 05:43 AM
So I'm thinking how to argue with that. Crazy? check Chain check Well, the ball isn't spiked . . . :straightf

Are you ever going to be back in this part of the world? You have any new projects underway?

Ellis Amdur
09-02-2010, 12:30 PM
Hi Dennis - see PM

Nafis Zahir
09-02-2010, 11:19 PM
Power flows from the truth and O'Sensei's power comes from his understanding and mastery of the underlying principles.

My sensei studied under O'Sensei for just under seven years and he said the attacks had to be fully committed and he likened receiving the techniques to "electric". Prior to enrolling at the Hombu dojo he was a well seasoned and hardened judo man and would not have studied unless he truly believed it was effective (he also studied at the Kodokan and partnered Donn Dreager as his uke).

Whilst we cannot experience O'Sensei's technique directly, the very fact the greats of other arts held him in enormous respect and sent their students suggests the respect was well deserved.


Excellent point!

gheelengooi
09-09-2010, 11:05 AM
I believe aikido in itself is rich and boundary-less. How can you reach a boundary if you have so much to lose? Through aikido, you start to lose more and more each day. Your hardened body, your unrelaxed thoughts...etc etc. It will not end until you lose everything, and become nothingness. And then you go beyond nothingness.

When Ueshiba is young, he is still knowledgeable, still remember a lot of stuff...so he is strong on superficial level, aggressive, egoistic.

When he turns a little older, he lost more and more. He became softer.

It goes on, until one day he loses everything, including all his techniques. Then it is the day which he is overwhelming.

Seishiro Endo Shihan said that in Ueshiba's old days, when a lot of people saw Ueshiba threw people only through using ki, he said he remember O'Sensei keep mentioning about 'atari' and 'atemi'. Atari is engagement. And I think you all knows what atemi is.

Ki is not something mysterious. Ki is everything. You are ki, the environment around is ki too. Ki itself is projected out of all living and non-living beings. Lion has ki too. If a lion is hungry and it sees you, I believe, even at ten metres away and it's hiding, you can feel its ki too. Something's not right in the air. Something. Anything.

Seishiro Endo Shihan has already reached a very high level of aikido, only not the stage to throw with ki. He said it must connects very closely with 'atari' and 'atemi'.

When you practice basic aikido, atari is the basic meeting of forces, you feel the meeting of forces from uke and yourself, and you move. Atemi is usually used as something to feint the opponent, or some people said to hit people when needed to etc etc.

But if you combine atari and atemi together, it might be the answer to the 'ki' O'Sensei used to throw people without body contact. Imagine an attacker charged forward to you, you engage him with your intention, and you start to do atemi to a place of the attacker's body which is vulnerable. The attacker is shocked, he tried to cover his soft spots, thus suddenly go off-balanced, and you move to another position and do another atemi again. The attacker is shocked again and try to jump out of it, and thus totally got thrown onto the ground by himself because both atemi didn't hit that attacker AT ALL.

So is it possible to throw a person without touching him/her? YES.

Can you reach a level like that? YES.

It takes years and years of aikido to move you to an absolute nothingness on your mind which you are fully aware and see everything as it is. And then you are pure. Pure means when you are angry you are angry. You are you. You don't have mind. So when you have an intention of attack, you are the intention yourself. You carry the whole body and go with the atemi, thus the atemi works powerfully. You engage with a pure you, not anything which you been 'imagining' or 'thinking' or 'judging' on your mind.

I believe, that's why O'Sensei is O'Sensei, the Great Great Great Sensei. He is truly, truly great.

MM
09-27-2010, 09:01 AM
More examples of Ueshiba's power, some anecdotal references, etc.

Black Belt 1981 Vol 19 No 9
Dave Lowry article about O-sensei.
Aikijutsu presumes the existence of a flow of body energy (ki) that is used to control oneself or an opponent. Aikijutsu masters, however, should not be thought of as egghead sages, content to sit around chatting about the ki's cosmic properties, nor did they attribute to it much philosophical meaning. They were frighteningly mighty budomen, capable of loosing their ki to wrench an assailant's arm from its socket or using his own to heave him through a wall. They were, Uyeshiba decided after meeting Takeda in Hokkaido, far superior in technique to any jujitsu teachers he'd known, and he promptly made himself a student of the Little Goblin.

One man who worked with Uyeshiba when the master traveled to Hawaii in 1961 to introduce aikido there, was held by him. "He grabbed my arm and instantly it was like being in a steel vise. Just his hold on my wrist bruised me badly, and I'm sure with a little pressure, the bones would've been broken. O-Sensei didn't need technique."

Black Belt 1980 Vol 18 No 4
Article by David Orange Jr about Mochizuki.
He remembers Uyeshiba for, among other things, his superhuman grip. "When Uyeshiba grabbed your wrist," he said, "it was already bruised. His hand was like a vise."

Mochizuki trained hard to crush things with his hands, but he never developed a grip like Uyeshiba's. "Uyeshiba," he said, "could break the wrist just by grasping it."

Black Belt 1981 Vol 19 No 9
Dave Lowry article about O-sensei.
One man who worked with Uyeshiba when the master traveled to Hawaii in 1961 to introduce aikido there, was held by him. "He grabbed my arm and instantly it was like being in a steel vise. Just his hold on my wrist bruised me badly, and I'm sure with a little pressure, the bones would've been broken. O-Sensei didn't need technique."

Black Belt 1989 Vol 27 No 8
Interview with Mochizuki
Mochizuki: Uyeshiba Sensei's teaching pushed me a lot to think. He could never show again what he did in randori. I would say, "What was that?" and he would reply, "I got that from God suddenly. I don't remember." To Uyeshiba Sensei, ki (internal energy) was inspiration from God. So I had to rationalize and try to extract basics from multiple variations. Also, Uyeshiba Sensei was not concerned with teaching at the time I was studying under him. We were mostly training partners to him. Our relationship was very informal. I would give him a hard time, often trying to counter him, sometimes with success. Other students would not dare. As exercises, we would often practice sumo. Uyeshiba was unbeatable at that type of wresting. He also had an extremely powerful grip. He could bruise someone's wrist just by grabbing it. I noticed that most partners would throw themselves before he even caught their wrist.

Demetrio Cereijo
09-27-2010, 09:33 AM
See also Amdur's HIPS, page 172.

Joe Bowen
09-28-2010, 09:42 AM
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

This may be a little late but here is a reference from Kobayashi Yasuo Sensei's autobiography about those two meeting:

http://www.kobayashi-dojo.com/english/book/3_5/

Cheers...

David Yap
10-01-2010, 03:49 AM
Hideo Hirosawa shihan - does he have it (or some of it)?

http://www.taais.com/The_last_uchideshi_of_Ueshiba.pdf

I note from the article that Hirosawa shihan received a two-thumbs up from Tada shihan before he was allowed to give a seminar in Italy.

Video clips of Hideo Hirosawa's demostrations:

http://videoology.com/aikido/watch-video/gswvg2K4_IQ&feature=youtube_gdata/AikidoeDintorni/hideo-hirosawa-shihan.html

http://www.export-manga.com/tienda/index.php/en/Reports-on-Japan/Hideo-Hirosawa-Shihan.html

MM
10-02-2010, 10:56 AM
Actually, Mifune and Ueshiba did meet. At the 1955 gathering of all the shihan - a week long training that I've referred to here and there - Kobayashi Yasuo recalled being in attendance while Ueshiba and Mifune had dinner. (And apparently, none of the uchi-deshi listened to the conversation - being young and probably tired, they just waited while the old men pontificated and ate). (It is very possible that they met elsewhere, but this time is known).
Ellis Amdur

According to Yoshio Sugino in Aiki News Issue 069, so there are at least two meetings between Mifune and Ueshiba.

"Kano Sensei, along with two or three others including Mr. Mifune, an instructor of the Kodokan, and Mr. Nagaoka went to Ueshiba Sensei's dojo in Shinjuku to observe his training."

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 12:34 PM
Regarding film frame rates, what is also important is shutter speed. In film there is something called the 180 degree rule, if you shoot 24fps you should have a shutter speed of approximately 48 for the smoothest motion. Shooting 30fps you want 60 shutter speed, etc. If you raise the shutter speed much higher you will get the effect like in some scenes found in the movie Gladiator or Saving Private Ryan, jolting stuttering quick motion that may make you feel sick. If you lower the shutter speed you will get blurred movement.

Youtube and such video hosting sites convert all of their footage to a certain frame rate which will definitely appear strange if it was not shot on standard frame rate like 24p, 30p or 60i. and especially if the 180 degree rule was not used to shoot the original footage.

Michael Neal
10-04-2010, 12:55 PM
I should clarify and say it is the 180 degree shutter rule, there is a 180 degree rule which is something else completely.

MM
10-05-2010, 07:36 AM
Aiki News Issue 030
Reverend Genyu Sogabe:

At that time, a former student from Asahikawa from around the 1935 period paid a visit and studied with Sensei after a long absence. Upon seeing Sensei's technique, he expressed some doubt: "In the old days, Sensei's technique was so frightening that we were afraid our arms and legs would be broken. But now his flowing techniques seem somewhat unconvincing and I'm puzzled about this."

Michael Neal
10-06-2010, 09:52 AM
I personally don't discount Ueshiba's spirituality as a big source of his power. Whether or not you believe in an actual spiritual dimension you can't discount practices of intense contemplation and purification and its effect on us but mentally and physically. I know for a fact that when I am in a good spiritual state of mind I can achieve things that I could not if weighed down the negative things that constantly creep up on us. Intense contemplation is something that is common in with the Christian saints, and spiritual heavyweights of other religions.

I also don't discount the extreme physical aspect including both his mastery of technique and extraordinary physical strength. Without these the spirituality in itself is useless for martial practice. Ueshiba was able to draw upon his strength and techniques he learned before and incorporate them at will to his Aikido.

Add on top of this his natural ability and very high intelligence.

In order to get a close as possible to replicate Ueshiba's power you would have to try and incorporate all of this I think, not in any particular order.

1) Mastery of Daito-Ryu and other forums of jujitsu
2) Shodan in Judo
3) Mastery of Japanese swordsmanship and other weapons.
4) Mastery in Aikido
5) Intense spiritual and/or mental discipline/contemplation/relaxation/purification.
6) Rigorous strength and endurancetraining.
7) Possess a great deal of natural talent
8) Good diet rich in antioxidants for both physical health and mental clarity.

MM
10-06-2010, 10:52 AM
I personally don't discount Ueshiba's spirituality as a big source of his power.


Here is where I respectfully disagree. IMO:

I discount his spirituality pretty much completely for where his martial power came from. It's pretty much known that most of his physical feats were replicated by Kodo and Sagawa. Push tests, immobilize someone, iron fan usage, etc, etc. They were all made by Takeda. The secret of aiki, as Ueshiba said.

However, I count his spirituality as what made Ueshiba and what created his view of aikido. And it pretty much points to Ueshiba couching/hiding his physical skills amidst spiritual ideology. See this thread, http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18770


I also don't discount the extreme physical aspect including both his mastery of technique and extraordinary physical strength.


Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, Okamoto, Ueshiba, etc, etc, all stated that their art was formless. Mastery of technique was never a focus. In fact, quite a lot of the above were known to do one technique and move on to another and another. Somewhere, someone asked Ueshiba to repeat a technique and I believe the answer received was along the lines of they're all the same.

In too many cases to cite, mastery of technique from highly proficient men in judo, karate, kendo, etc never helped them when they met Takeda, Sagawa, Kodo, Ueshiba, etc. Focusing on mastery of technique is a dead end.

Physical strength? Again, there are countless examples out there of men whose physical strength was useless. Ueshiba's first encounter with Takeda is a very prime example. Tohei talking about kicking beams in his house to get good at judo and then not being able to do anything when he met Ueshiba. Mochizuki's meeting with Ueshiba. Etc, etc, etc.


Without these the spirituality in itself is useless for martial practice. Ueshiba was able to draw upon his strength and techniques he learned before and incorporate them at will to his Aikido.


Ueshiba never stopped doing Daito ryu.
See this thread:
http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15100

and

Ellis Amdur's comment about Driscoll's research and Ueshiba's techniques being 99% (I think but it was in the 90's for sure) Daito ryu. There's a specific reason why Daito ryu derived techniques are different from old style jujutsu and judo.


In order to get a close as possible to replicate Ueshiba's power you would have to try and incorporate all of this I think, not in any particular order.

1) Mastery of Daito-Ryu and other forums of jujitsu
2) Shodan in Judo
3) Mastery of Japanese swordsmanship and other weapons.
4) Mastery in Aikido
5) Intense spiritual and/or mental discipline/contemplation/relaxation/purification.
6) Rigorous strength and endurancetraining.
7) Possess a great deal of natural talent
8) Good diet rich in antioxidants for both physical health and mental clarity.

His power? Primarily, it's the aiki of Daito ryu. His aikido? It's the aiki of Daito ryu blended with his spirituality (mainly Oomoto kyo).

You want to *be* Ueshiba, that's the two elements. Personally, I think it's a very hard road to take.

You want to *replicate* Ueshiba (or be better), it's the aiki from Daito ryu and whatever spirituality you live. No religion needed, but Ueshiba's aikido will make you better in your religion.

Michael Neal
10-06-2010, 12:46 PM
I would put someone that has all the qualities on my list against someone who just has a mastery of Daito-Ryu any day. Ueshiba was really a mixed martial artist with a specialty in aiki. Articles speak of his superior "sumo" skills probably developed through both his Judo and sumo experience as well has his incredible strength.

I also personal give the spirituality more credit than others if even just due to the mental benefits of clarity, meditation, and powerful imagination. I just know this from my personal experience that I perform 300% better when spiritually in tune but unfortunately I spend most of my time out of tune.

Brion Toss
10-07-2010, 02:55 PM
A probably unnecessary plug, but all of the above information will be clearer if you can get and study a copy of "Hidden in Plain Sight". Context is everything. Now back to the discussion.

Michael Neal
10-07-2010, 07:37 PM
Yes I am definitely interested in that book, thanks for reminding me that I need to get a copy.

Michael Neal
10-08-2010, 08:15 AM
Not that I have any chance of even coming close to the skill level of Ueshiba, an impossibility for me for sure. Maybe someone starting off really young following the same training methods and skills.

Budd
10-08-2010, 08:57 AM
Not that I have any chance of even coming close to the skill level of Ueshiba, an impossibility for me for sure. Maybe someone starting off really young following the same training methods and skills.

Hi Michael - nice to see you back on the boards. As another fairly new parent, I know what a life changer all of that can be. I'd say you've got some catching up to do on some of the discussions that have been going on. With regard to the "power" a number of people are speaking to - a lot of the discussions are around the "internal strength" aspects have to do with material that's being covered in seminars given by Mike Sigman, Dan Harden and Akuzawa from the standpoint of bodyskills that aren't tied to a specific martial art.

There other people in traditional martial arts (taiji, older jujutsu systems, etc.) that are also teaching the arts with an emphasis on these bodyskills as well. Having said that, I'd encourage you to both read Ellis's book (as others have done) and make the opportunity to go get hands-on time with someone that's explicitly teaching "this stuff" (at least Mike and Akuzawa have done seminars in the DC area in the last couple years - I'm not sure of Dan's schedule or if he's made it down that far, but keep an eye out on the "Non-Aikido *haha* Martial Traditions" forum for dates/times of when they'd be available).

I am not saying that your mind will be changed having done that, but I think you'll have a more educated perspective around what's being discussed around the topic of qi/jin from a Chinese sense and aiki from a potentially Daito-ryu sense. Like anything else in "organized martial arts", there's a host of political and social considerations (baggage) also somewhat embedded/inherent/inherited in the discussions, but that is no reason not to at least be hands-on familiar with the topics being addressed.

Also, understand that much of the above is a vast simplification of the deep topic and equally deep ramifications around the efforts going on to spread information and raise the average practitioner's knowledge about this skillset. As such, it also doesn't hurt to apply a filter to everyone's comments (yes, even mine, shocker, I know) because a lot of us are figuring it out as we go - some are upfront and honest about it, others are delusional (to themselves, others, or both) and still others try to speak to the topic while clearly indicating that they don't understand the topic.

Craziness. But at least these are interesting times, heh. As for Ueshiba Morihei's power . . an argument could be made that he was was doing the same "power" found in a lot of traditional martial arts, but at a period where its transmission cycle was seriously on the wane. An example being that the physical skillset found in aikido today has serious gaps with regard to reaching the physical abilities that Ueshiba was known for. And aikido is not the only martial art that has found itself in this boat.

Michael Neal
10-08-2010, 01:34 PM
yes it is interesting and I am more open minded to this kind of stuff than I used to.

gdandscompserv
10-09-2010, 06:26 PM
I am not saying that your mind will be changed having done that, but I think you'll have a more educated perspective around what's being discussed around the topic of qi/jin from a Chinese sense and aiki from a potentially Daito-ryu sense.
I know mine eyes have seen the glory!
:D

Michael Neal
10-12-2010, 08:28 AM
Is there anyone who teaches this internal training that has legitimate credentials and ranking with this type of skill? I have read a lot of discussions here and did some forum searches and it seems there is some doubt about this. I have a lot of respect for Jim Sorrentino-Sensei and defer to his judgment and concerns about this subject, not to rehash any arguments just a legitimate question of authenticity.

Michael Neal
10-12-2010, 09:14 AM
This is outside of Ellis Amdur's book of course which I did order, I specifically mean on hands training.

Budd
10-12-2010, 10:49 AM
Hi Michael - I've seen Jimmy at two Mike Sigman seminars, but I would be surprised if he pitched himself as a judge of "who's got the internal goods". I've also met Dan Harden. I'd say if you can get hands-on time with either it will be worth your while - and both can quickly show you how this kind of "unusual strength" can make your aiki better (or as some of us believe, how this stuff IS the basis for aiki, ding, pun intended, whatever).

People that I know that have trained with Akuzawa have good things to say about his power level, plus he's the smallest guy in the bunch mentioned so far, so can also be a good indicator how a well conditioned/connected body using this type of "unusual strength" can bring a lot more juice than you'd be expecting.

I can't speak to anyone doing more "traditional" Japanese martial arts as it seems the approach to internal power is interweaved within the curriculum and syllabus of the school/system/style, so it's more often a mix of internal strength mixed in with applications/strategy. Depending on what you're looking for, as well as your ability to discriminate, such a thing may be more or less your cup of tea. I'd include most lineages of Daito ryu that I've seen or experienced, in this mix.

On the traditional Chinese arts side of things, the perceived standard bearers seem to be Chen Taiji, with Chen Xao Wang being something of the top guy (though I believe there's four distinct Grandmaster "lines" even at that level, but I'm speaking way above my paygrade here, as I have no involvement in those disciplines). Chen Bing and Wang Hai Jun are pretty well regarded from the younger generation that are teaching and sometimes make their way here. Do some research if that interests you, but I'd recommend the "push hands" seminars rather than the forms if you want to feel how they express this "unusual strength".

From the standpoint of who's got "rank" in using IS, that's sort of the wrong question to ask, in my opinion. Sure, there's lots of high grade or shihan level guys here in the US that I expect are trying to get up to speed or "incorporate" IS into what they do. But I think at the end of the day, it's about how you retrain/rewire your body to carry itself differently, so rank (especially in mainstream martial arts, today), currently isn't going to reflect that very much.

But how "this stuff" is going to be incorporated (or ignored) in mainstream martial arts going forward into the long term, is gonna be a fun thing to watch, methinks. Whether or not someone's rank in a martial art ever actually means they have applicable skill in this kind of unusual strength . . we'll see.

David Orange
10-12-2010, 11:05 AM
...both can quickly show you how this kind of "unusual strength" can make your aiki better (or as some of us believe, how this stuff IS the basis for aiki, ding, pun intended, whatever).

You mean peng intended?:p

David

Michael Neal
10-12-2010, 11:24 AM
What I meant with credibility was a legitimate ranking in a martial art that trained this "internal" power as part of the curriculum such as "Godan in Daito-Ryu."

I am not trying to put words in Jim's mouth or imply he was the only judge of credibility, I just respect his experience along with his relevant questions about people teaching this without any apparent credible ranking as I explained above.

Without the legitimate ranking I tend to start thinking about parlor tricks and stuff that belongs on "bullshido."

But guess the answer really is to attend some seminars.

Budd
10-12-2010, 11:40 AM
But guess the answer really is to attend some seminars.

DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGIDINGDING ;)

jss
10-13-2010, 01:18 AM
What I meant with credibility was a legitimate ranking in a martial art that trained this "internal" power as part of the curriculum such as "Godan in Daito-Ryu."
Of all the people mentioned regularly on this forum as 'having the goods' only Chen Xiao Wang would qualify then. Mike Sigman and Dan Harden don't claim any rank in a martial art. And Akuzawa founded his own ogranization, so that doesn't really count.
But perhaps we aren't looking hard enough. I went to a Baji seminar by Wu LianZhi and his son Wu DaWei once. His father looked like he had internal power (didn't have a chance to feel what he could do, though). The son was less impressive. (Interesting detail: the father taught the Jibengong or foundational exsercises, the son one of the basic Baji forms.)

But guess the answer really is to attend some seminars.
Yep. Only problem is as you hint at, you still don't really know what you get. You can go see Mike, Dan, Ark and Chen Xiao Wang and note the similarities and differences between them. Presumably you conclude that on a basic level they do the same things and go in different directions from there.
Yet as an aikidoka the question remains: what did Morihei Ueshiba do exactly? And how does it compare to the people whose seminar you went to?

phitruong
10-13-2010, 07:30 AM
Mike Sigman and Dan Harden don't claim any rank in a martial art. And Akuzawa founded his own ogranization, so that doesn't really count.


what?!! you meant these guys did not claim to be the grand master guru of IS/aiki stuffs? you meant we have been scammed by them. that's just so wrong! i want my money back! actually, i need to go to a few more of their workshops before asking for money back. the stuffs they shown were so confounding. besides, it's not like we have not done that already in aikido. we have "aiki" in the name of our art, damn it! :D

of course we wouldn't be as concerned if our art named phido. although, phido has a nice ring to it and rolls right off the tongue. practitioner of phido would require to pay phi good money, cash only please, to get instant title of illustrious master of phido with a cheaply chinese made plague to go with such title and a picture of the grandmaster phi in his pajamas, in some case 1 out of ten where he wore less, while drinking coffee. :D

Budd
10-13-2010, 07:36 AM
I could never practice an art called "phido" . . I'm in the doghouse often enough ;)

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 08:19 AM
The thing is I can't rationalize spending good money on a fee as well as traveling costs to go see someone without any credentials demonstrating "ancient lost techniques." Until there is someone teaching with some legitimate authority on the subject I will sit this one out. But I will read Ellis Amdur's book, he is someone I would be comfortable learning from.

thisisnotreal
10-13-2010, 08:55 AM
But I will read Ellis Amdur's book, he is someone I would be comfortable learning from.
The funny thing about that is, and you will see it for yourself when you read the book's foreword, amongst other people, he thanks two of the aforementioned guys for all their subject matter contributions to the book.

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 09:07 AM
I will read it and try to absorb the concept some. Contributing to a book still does not give me confidence in them if they have no credentials.

jss
10-13-2010, 09:37 AM
The thing is I can't rationalize spending good money on a fee as well as traveling costs to go see someone without any credentials demonstrating "ancient lost techniques."
Funny, the exact reason I went for the first time to an Akuzawa and a Sigman seminar, is to check their credentials. I remember thinking "If all that stuff on Aikiweb on internal strength is true, it changes everything!" So I wanted to know what they can do and what their training methodology is like.
And I must say: Yes, it changed everything. Not just how I practice, but also how I think about people's credentials. It all comes down to one thing: show me what you got.
Does that mean you have to go check out every John-sensei that teaches some martial art in a strip mall? No, but I think the oft-mentioned people with regards to interal strength have created enough traffic on this site to warrant a visit to one of their seminars.

grondahl
10-13-2010, 09:38 AM
I see it the opposite way. Credentials in form of years trained or rank feels pretty useless (of course, it depends on the way the art ranks and trains) but the fact that people from Aikiweb have met them and walked away with a positive impression is a major credential in my book.

chillzATL
10-13-2010, 09:57 AM
The thing is I can't rationalize spending good money on a fee as well as traveling costs to go see someone without any credentials demonstrating "ancient lost techniques." Until there is someone teaching with some legitimate authority on the subject I will sit this one out. But I will read Ellis Amdur's book, he is someone I would be comfortable learning from.

IMO, you're just hanging too much on "modern" rankings as the credentials. There was a point in time that word of mouth and relayed experiences were your credentials. If that wasn't enough you simply challenged the person and they either convinced you or not. Few of the people who became students of Ueshiba did so because of any formal rank or credentials. They came to him because of the stories of what he could do and typically, what he was able to do to them.

Budd
10-13-2010, 10:04 AM
Right, one of the concepts is that . . if you've spent 30 years training in aikido without having gotten the very baseline body skills that a number of people seem to agree was the basis for Ueshiba's power . . what legitimacy does that give your opinion or practice around . . these very same bodyskills?

Michael, I seriously wish you luck in your training, but don't expect to get anything back unless you're willing to make the investment - part of which is doing the self-investigation to figure out things for yourself, rather than expecting someone else to tell you.

The thing is, though, if your goal is to fit in well with mainstream martial arts that's run via organizations and rank-recognized-authority/leadership . . then you probably don't want to make too much of an investment in "this stuff" as the pursuit of it is required to be a personal obsession that you spend hours of your own time burning in and figuring out inside yourself . . portantially in addition to repeating techniques on a mat.

But then that re-asserts the question of . . is the way to develop Ueshiba's Power necessitate training in aikido? I guess another thing to look at is . . which are more interested in . . being able to replicate/surpass what others said he could DO . . versus aligning yourself to what was passed down as what he SAID . . neither, both? Something else?

I don't think it's a black and white question, not hardly . . but I think it's going to require a case-by-case assessment and willingness to invest in your own personal mission quest. There's already plenty of options if what you're after is a sense of belonging spiced with some roleplaying.

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 10:25 AM
Well I will try to be open minded and see where it takes me. Since my main focus is in Judo right now I don't have any doubts about effectiveness and such, it works. But I would love to help bring back the traditional aspects of Judo when it wasn't simply a jacketed wrestling match, but a display of technical skill over strength. Maybe internal training could help me in this goal, maybe not.

Maybe all traditional martial arts need to go through a Renaissance period to discover what has been lost in many years of practice.

Thomas Campbell
10-13-2010, 12:31 PM
What I meant with credibility was a legitimate ranking in a martial art that trained this "internal" power as part of the curriculum such as "Godan in Daito-Ryu."

Who gave Takeda Sokaku "legitimate ranking" and "credentials"?

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 01:10 PM
I believe his martial arts experience is pretty well documented

Nicholas Eschenbruch
10-13-2010, 01:13 PM
Funny, the exact reason I went for the first time to an Akuzawa and a Sigman seminar, is to check their credentials. I remember thinking "If all that stuff on Aikiweb on internal strength is true, it changes everything!" So I wanted to know what they can do and what their training methodology is like.
And I must say: Yes, it changed everything. Not just how I practice, but also how I think about people's credentials. It all comes down to one thing: show me what you got.
Does that mean you have to go check out every John-sensei that teaches some martial art in a strip mall? No, but I think the oft-mentioned people with regards to interal strength have created enough traffic on this site to warrant a visit to one of their seminars.

+1
Every word!

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 01:20 PM
As I said I will keep an open mind, I would definitely like to try a Mike Sigman seminar at some point.

HL1978
10-13-2010, 01:55 PM
The thing is I can't rationalize spending good money on a fee as well as traveling costs to go see someone without any credentials demonstrating "ancient lost techniques." Until there is someone teaching with some legitimate authority on the subject I will sit this one out. But I will read Ellis Amdur's book, he is someone I would be comfortable learning from.

I'd view it a bit differently. If you have higher ranking instructors seeking these guys out and saying good things about them and you respect those people's opinions then I would take their advice to heart.

Of course another way is to feel people who have been to seminars/workshops and have been working on their own. If you havent seen them for a few months or years and the next time you meet them they feel different its worth investigating further. Thats basically what happened to me. I didn't feel some of the aunkai students for a year after my initial meeting. When I came back and felt them again and saw the gains in power, I knew there was something to be gained from that sort of training.

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 02:25 PM
I agree, the only way to know for sure is to give it a try. I am simply by nature a very skeptical person but at the same time I am capable of changing my mind and admitting I am wrong. So next time a seminar comes to the Northern Virginia area I will be sure to check it out with an open mind.

Rob Watson
10-13-2010, 02:44 PM
I am simply by nature a very skeptical person

Be skeptical that the training one is doing is the most effective use of ones time. There is always a better way.

HL1978
10-13-2010, 03:12 PM
I agree, the only way to know for sure is to give it a try. I am simply by nature a very skeptical person but at the same time I am capable of changing my mind and admitting I am wrong. So next time a seminar comes to the Northern Virginia area I will be sure to check it out with an open mind.

There are a couple of practice groups in the area that you can check out as well.

Michael Neal
10-13-2010, 04:24 PM
Great, where do these groups train at?

AllanF
10-13-2010, 11:52 PM
In terms of credentials since we are talking about marital arts there is only one thing that counts and that is can you walk the walk? Takeda, by all accounts, didn't wax lyrical about philosophy or spirituality, he simply said attack me. That is all the credentials you need really. I may be mistaken but although Takeda's history is well documented today wasn't he relatively unknown when he started teaching? Otherwise he wouldn't have needed people to "persuade" people to take his seminars.